Andris Nelsons overwhelmed by Wagner’s Tannhà¤user
Andris Nelsons was born in Riga. His mother founded the first early music ensemble in Latvia, and his father was a choral conductor, cellist, and teacher. At age five, his mother and stepfather (a choir conductor) took him to a performance of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, which Nelsons refers to as a profoundly formative experience: “it had a hypnotic effect on me. I was overwhelmed by the music. I cried when Tannhäuser died. I still think this was the biggest thing that happened in my childhood.”
As a youth, Nelsons studied piano, and took up the trumpet at age 12.He also sang bass-baritone, with a special interest in early music, in his mother’s ensemble.He studied for one summer at the Dartington International Summer School with Evelyn Tubb. He served as a trumpeter with the orchestra of the Latvian National Opera.