Walter Bitner

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Side By Side 2017

Curb Youth Symphony & Nashville Symphony musicians rehearse for the annual Side By Side performance, May 16, 2017 ~ photo by Kelley Bell (click to enlarge)

Last week – on Wednesday, May 17, Curb Youth Symphony joined the Nashville Symphony on the stage of Laura Turner Hall for our annual Side By Side concert. Curb Youth Symphony is directed by Carol Nies, and this year’s annual Side By Side event was conducted ( for the first time) by Nashville Symphony Music Director & Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. For two days many of Middle Tennessee’s most accomplished teenage musicians thronged the halls of Schermerhorn Symphony Center, rubbing shoulders with Nashville Symphony musicians backstage and sharing stands with them on stage as we rehearsed and performed this much anticipated event.

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Nashville Philharmonic: Spring 2017

“I’m really excited about our final pair of concerts this season!” said Christopher Norton, music director of the Nashville Philharmonic, Music City’s volunteer community orchestra. “There are so many connections to the Nashville community inherent in this program, and it encompasses the Nashville Philharmonic’s commitment to education, outreach, and the advancement of the arts.”

Last week I spoke with Dr. Norton and the soloists who are featured on the upcoming programs on May 7 and May 9, including the winners of the NPO’s 2017 concerto and composition competitions.

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Curb Concerto Competition Finalists 2017

2017 Curb Concerto Competition Finalists: (l to r) Maggie Kasinger, Kaili Wang, Chloe Harvel, Daniel Hosny

2017 Curb Concerto Competition Finalists: (l to r) Maggie Kasinger, Kaili Wang, Chloe Harvel, Daniel Hosny ~ photos by Sally Bebawy (click to enlarge)

This past weekend we had the great pleasure of welcoming a dozen teenage musicians into the hall to compete in the annual Curb Concerto Competition. The first round of the competition took place on Saturday, Februrary 25 and the finals round occurred on Sunday afternoon, February 26, which resulted in the selection of this year’s winner, who will perform with the Nashville Symphony at the annual Side By Side Concert with Curb Youth Symphony on May 17. The 2017 Side By Side Concert will be conducted by Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero.

This year’s contestants included 6 violinists, 3 pianists, and one student each on cello, harp, and flute. Both rounds of the competition took place on the stage of Laura Turner Hall at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

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15th Annual Mozart Birthday Concerts

(l to r) Nashville Symphony musicians Gil Perel & Roger Wiesmeyer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756. For the 15th consecutive year, Roger Wiesmeyer’s Mozart in Nashville will present concert celebrations in honor of the Austrian wunderkind’s birthday. As in years past, this year’s events feature an ensemble of local musicians – including members of the Nashville Symphony, free-lance professionals, and amateurs – who will perform two benefit concerts for a local charity featuring music by Amadeus.

This year’s concerts will take place:

Friday, January 13, noon, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 4715 Harding Road, Nashville.

Monday, January 23, 7 pm, at Edgehill United Methodist Church, 1502 Edgehill Avenue, Nashville.

This year’s concerts feature:

Piano Sonata in B flat Major, K. 333
Roger Wiesmeyer, piano solo

Bassoon Concerto in B flat Major, K. 191/186e
Gil Perel, bassoon solo
Mozart Birthday Festival Orchestra

Proceeds will benefit the Mary Parrish Center for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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Nashville Philharmonic Premieres Chris Farrell’s Violin Concerto

Chris Farrell & Jessica Blackwell

Chris Farrell & Jessica Blackwell

Next week the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra will give world premiere performances of a new violin concerto by Nashville composer Christopher Farrell on the program of their upcoming “Royal Coronation” concerts on December 6 & December 11. Among Nashville’s (now several) volunteer community orchestras, the NPO is the most well-established and performs the most demanding and developed series of concerts each year. These performances will be led by NPO Music Director Christopher Norton and feature NPO Concertmaster Jessica Blackwell as soloist, for whom Farrell wrote the concerto.

Both Chris and Jessica are longstanding members of the Nashville Symphony. I first met them both years ago when I was directing Music City Youth Orchestra: Jessica led sectional rehearsals for our violinists, and Chris taught private lessons to some of our students. I’ve had the great pleasure of collaborating with them on a number of projects here at the symphony over the last couple of years, and was excited to get together with them to talk about the new concerto.

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Masterclass with Simone Porter, October 27

Simone Porter

Simone Porter

The celebrated young violinist Simone Porter will be joining the Nashville Symphony this fall for two performances of Samuel Barber’s spectacular Violin Concerto under the direction of music director Giancarlo Guerrero on October 28 & 29.

We’re thrilled to announce that in addition to performing with the symphony, Simone Porter will hold a masterclass for pre-college violin on Thursday, October 27 from 7 – 8:30 pm on the stage of Laura Turner Hall at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Students, parents, and teachers are invited to make reservations and plan to attend this very special event – and violin students who have not yet graduated from high school are encouraged to submit an application to perform in the masterclass.

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Introducing the Nashville Concerto Orchestra

from my instagram feed: Roger Wiesmeyer plays Mozart, 14th annual Mozart's Birthday Concert, January 31, 2016, Edgehill United Methodist Church, Nashville

from my instagram feed: Roger Wiesmeyer plays Mozart, 14th annual Mozart’s Birthday Concert, January 31, 2016, Edgehill United Methodist Church, Nashville

Coming Soon

Roger Wiesmeyer’s multi-faceted role in the Nashville classical music scene has long been a important presence in our community. Born in Nashville, Roger grew up here and attended Hillsboro High School and Blair School of Music before going away to school at Curtis Institute and on to positions in the Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Honolulu symphonies. He returned to Nashville in 2001 to become the Nashville Symphony’s english horn player. In addition to his work as an oboist and english horn player, Roger is an accomplished pianist, and he has presented annual concerts to celebrate Mozart’s birthday every year since 2003.

This month Roger is launching a new project – and gift – to Music City: the Nashville Concerto Orchestra.

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Side By Side 2016

The Nashville Symphony and Curb Youth Symphony perform the annual Side By Side concert, May 19, 2016, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville

The Nashville Symphony and Curb Youth Symphony perform the annual Side By Side concert, May 19, 2016, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville

Last night, Thursday, May 19, the Nashville Symphony hosted the annual Side By Side concert with Curb Youth Symphony. With some 150 musicians on stage, I believe this was the largest orchestra I have ever heard on the stage of Laura Turner Hall. Curb Youth Symphony is directed by Carol Nies, and the annual Side By Side event was conducted by Nashville Symphony Associate Conductor Vinay Parameswaran. It included an afternoon and evening of rehearsals on Wednesday – including the traditional pizza party in the break – and Thursday night’s concert.

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Curb Concerto Competition Finalists 2016

2016 Curb Concerto Competition Finalists: (l to r) Jocelyn Hartley, Clara Warford, Maggie Kasinger, Shawn Zheng, Kazuki Takizawa. March 6, 2016, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville

2016 Curb Concerto Competition Finalists: (l to r) Jocelyn Hartley, Clara Warford, Maggie Kasinger, Shawn Zheng, Kazuki Takizawa. March 6, 2016, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville

I’m very pleased to share the news here that this year’s Curb Concerto Competition was a great success, and featured a high level of playing on the parts of the participants. Students ages 14 to 18 competed for thousands of dollars in prize money and the chance to perform with the Nashville Symphony in our annual competition, held this year on March 5 & 6 here at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. All told, this year’s competition included 16 string, brass, and piano students, each of whom performed their auditions on the stage of Laura Turner Hall.

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Meet Telemann

Telemannwide

To his 18th century contemporaries, Georg Philipp Telemann was the most famous, influential, and highly-regarded German musician of the day. Four years older than his friends J.S. Bach and Händel – both of whose reputations have now eclipsed his – Telemann was more prolific than either, wrote sacred and secular, vocal and instrumental music in virtually every genre, published on a nearly unprecedented scale, and did more than any other musician of his time to break down barriers that kept music a separate and elite component of civic, court, and church ceremony to elevate the role of music in the life of the middle class.

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