Andris Nelsons, 34, Thursday was named the 15th music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1881.

The announcement was made by chairman of the BSO board of trustees, Ted Kelly; BSO board of trustees vice chairman, Stephen B. Kay, and Robert O'Block; and BSO managing director Mark Volpe, following a meeting of the orchestra's board of trustees earlier at Symphony Hall.

Nelsons is the youngest music director to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in more than 100 years. He is also the first Latvian-born conductor to take on the post.

"It is absolutely thrilling for us to announce the appointment of Andris Nelsons as the next Boston Symphony Orchestra music director," Kelly said in a statement.

"Sought after by the top orchestras and opera houses of the world, Maestro Nelsons, at age 34, is already considered one of the most brilliant conductors of our time. We are very fortunate that Mr. Nelsons, as the BSO's next music director, will bring his extraordinary ability to lead powerfully moving and insightful performances to the next chapter in the orchestra's storied history. As the BSO continues to realize its mission of bringing the highest standards of music making to an ever-growing live and online audience, I believe Andris Nelsons' unique creativity and visionary instincts will bring a remarkable inspiration to all the BSO's endeavors."

"I am deeply honored and touched that the Boston Symphony Orchestra has appointed me its next music director, as it is one of the highest achievements a conductor could hope for in his lifetime," said Nelsons. "Each time I have worked with the BSO I have been inspired by how effectively it gets to the heart of the music, always leaving its audience with a great wealth of emotions. So it is with great joy that I truly look forward to joining this wonderful musical family and getting to know the beautiful city of Boston and the community that so clearly loves its great orchestra. As I consider my future with the Boston Symphony, I imagine us working closely together to bring the deepest passion and love that we all share for music to ever greater numbers of music fans in Boston, at Tanglewood, and throughout the world."

Nelsons will replace outgoing music director Jim Levine, whose resignation goes into effect in September.

Levine resigned because he has had ongoing health problems and underwent emergency back surgery in 2009. In 2008, he had a kidney removed because of a cancerous cyst.