This year’s annual Side By Side Concert featuring the combined forces of Curb Youth Symphony and the Nashville Symphony on the stage of Laura Turner Hall took place on Tuesday, May 7. Curb Youth Symphony is directed by Carol Nies, and this year’s Side By Side event was conducted by Nashville Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez. As always, we enjoyed sharing our symphony home with many of Middle Tennessee’s most accomplished teenage musicians, as they rehearsed and performed alongside our own Nashville Symphony musicians at this eagerly anticipated special event.
It was a thrill to work with the incredibly talented students of the Curb Youth Symphony along with the Musicians of the Nashville Symphony this past week on Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. I was so impressed at the level of preparation and professionalism of all the students. They truly stepped up to the challenge of such a difficult piece.
Concerts like this not only give students the wonderful opportunity to learn from and perform alongside our talented musicians in concert but can also have a tremendous long-term musical impact. This concert was particularly thrilling for me, as I mentioned to the students, as Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony was one of the first symphonies I ever performed in with my youth orchestra back in San Diego. To this day, that performance, and piece, remains one of the musical highlights of my life in music, as hopefully this event was for the CYS students as well.
~ Enrico Lopez-Yañez
Principal Pops Conductor, Nashville Symphony
The featured soloist at this year’s Side By Side concert was pianist Luke Turner, winner of the Nashville Symphony’s 2019 Curb Concerto Competition. Luke performed the first movement from the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, accompanied by Enrico Lopez-Yañez and the Nashville Symphony to open the Side by Side concert.
Luke is a Myra Jackson Scholar at Blair School of Music, where he studies with Heather Conner. He won the Curb Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition last October and has also won the numerous state and regional competitions in both Tennessee and Alabama, as well as the Lois Pickard Concerto Competition in January of 2017. Luke is also a cellist and as such has performed solo cello concerto performances with the Tuscaloosa Youth Orchestra.
After a rhapsodic performance of the Rachmaninoff concerto movement, Curb Youth Symphony joined the Nashville Symphony on stage. What a spectacle! With both orchestras combined, the stage was packed full of musicians – even enlarged by the addition of the stage extension, the stage was very full.
This year’s Side By Side featured a performance of the entire Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Under the baton of Enrico Lopez-Yañez, the massive orchestra presented a vibrant and powerful reading of this exciting, thrilling, turbulent masterpiece.
The Side-by-Side Concert provided a life-changing opportunity for our CYS students to perform on-stage with their heroes from the Nashville Symphony! This was a magic evening that our CYS members will never forget! Thank you to the Nashville Symphony for making this concert possible!
~ Carol Nies
Director, Curb Youth Symphony
Curb Youth Symphony is a collaborative effort between the Nashville Symphony and Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, and the annual Side By Side concert is an important and culminating feature of this program. In addition to weekly rehearsals with Curb Youth Symphony director Carol Nies throughout the year, many Nashville Symphony musicians dedicate time to providing instruction and mentorship through sectionals and side-by-side rehearsals with these students. The Side By Side event represents our commitment to providing dedicated music students in Middle Tennessee with the opportunity to develop their musicianship not just in the classroom, but also on stage at Laura Turner Hall.
The annual Side by Side concert with the Nashville Symphony is truly a thrilling experience for the high school musicians of the Curb Youth Symphony. The symphony musicians are their idols, and the students look forward to this moment all year long. To sit and perform next to these amazing musicians is inspiring, and humbling, a mountain top experience. It would be terrifying as well, but the kindness and encouragement of the NSO musicians enables these young people to rise to the occasion and play their hearts out. It was a beautiful concert, full of passion and poignant beauty. The partnership between Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt and the Nashville Symphony is a marriage made in heaven. The young learn from their heroes and these musical heroes are taken back in their memory to the their younger days. The joy and inspiration that arises when making music in community was in full bloom in this concert!
~ Pam Schneller
Senior Associate Dean, Precollege and Adult Program
Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University
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Side By Side 2019