Walter Bitner

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Side By Side 2018

Curb Youth Symphony musicians (Kaili Wang and Maggie Kasinger, concertmasters) begin rehearsal for the annual Side By Side Concert ~ May 14, 2018, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville (click photos to enlarge)

On May 15, Curb Youth Symphony and the Nashville Symphony combined forces 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 Side By Side event was conducted for the second year in a row by Nashville Symphony Music Director & Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. On Monday and Tuesday last week, 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 as we prepared for and enjoyed this much anticipated annual event.

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2017 Composer Lab & Workshop

Next month, the Nashville Symphony will host our second Composer Lab & Workshop, an unique opportunity for young composers to hear their music performed by the Nashville Symphony and receive mentoring and feedback from orchestra professionals.

Four young composers had been selected for this year’s three day event from November 13 – 15, one of whom may potentially earn a performance of their work on the Nashville Symphony’s 2018/19 Classical Series.

FREE tickets are available now! to a performance on November 14 at which the Nashville Symphony, under the baton of Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, will conduct the selected work by each of this year’s Composer Lab Fellows.

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Violins of Hope Come to Music City

Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero fields questions from reporters ~ Violins of Hope press conference, September 12, 2017, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville (click photos to enlarge)

On Tuesday, September 12, the Nashville Symphony hosted a press conference at Schermerhorn Symphony Center to announce the city-wide collaboration effort to bring the world-famous Violins of Hope to Nashville in the spring of next year.

A diverse array of local organizations – including the Nashville Symphony, Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville Public Library, Nashville Ballet, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vanderbilt University, Blair School of Music and many more – will bring this rare collection of instruments – the majority of which were played by Jewish musicians interned in concentration camps during the Holocaust – to Nashville from Israel in mid-March 2018.

Restored and refurbished by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, the Violins of Hope will be the centerpiece of a months-long initiative designed to foster a city-wide dialogue on music, art, social justice and free expression.

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Education & Community Engagement at the Nashville Symphony: Spring 2017 Review

Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement staff: (l to r) Walter Bitner, director; Kristen Freeman, coordinator; Kelley Bell, program manager; Kimberly Kraft McLemore, Accelerando Manager ~ January 10, 2017

The Memorial Day Weekend is behind us now – summer is just around the corner! Soon we will enter the last stage of the season – our annual Community Concerts series of “symphony under the stars” parks concerts which begin on Thursday, June 8 at Centennial Park. But first, let’s pause to look back on our activities in the department of Education & Community Engagement at the Nashville Symphony since January.

It’s been an eventful spring for our department at the Nashville Symphony. This post is a summary of what we’ve been up to since I posted my review of 2016 fall EDCE programming. For many of the events and programs described here,  I have already written dedicated articles: for more details, follow the links! (Click photos to enlarge them.)

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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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Accelerando on Nashville Public Television

Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero poses with Accelerando students, August 20, 2016 ~ from Arts Break, Nashville Public Television

Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero poses with Accelerando students, August 20, 2016 ~ from Arts Break, Nashville Public Television

Nashville Public Television (WNPT) featured the Nashville Symphony’s award-winning Accelerando program on the station’s weekly feature Arts Break this week. The three minute segment premiered Thursday night, October 6, and will run again on Sunday morning October 9 after Volunteer Gardener (around 9:55am).

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Free Day of Music 2016

 

Here is your interactive, one-stop rundown of the Nashville Symphony’s 11th Annual Free Day of Music. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 22, as always at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Performances showcasing more than 20 different musical acts will be held from 11 am to 9 pm on four stages located both inside and outside Schermerhorn.  A diverse array of performers from throughout the community will present a wide range of musical styles including classical, country, rock, jazz, soul, world music and more.  Follow the links to learn more about each performer or ensemble.

 

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Announcing the Accelerando Inaugural Class

from my Instagram feed: the first class of Accelerando poses with Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero, August 20, 2016

from my Instagram feed: the first class of Accelerando poses with Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero, August 20, 2016

This month saw the end of a long and thorough audition process that began on March 12 and led to the selection of our first ever class of students who are beginning the Accelerando program this fall. Speaking on my own behalf and that of the Nashville Symphony and our community partners: we are thrilled!

Our first class of Accelerando students represents the dynamic diversity of Middle Tennessee well: each of the six students in grades 7 -10 attends a different school, two in Rutherford County and the other four at Metro Nashville Public Schools. Our inaugural class of student instrumentalists collectively play violin, viola, flute, bassoon, and trombone, and will begin weekly lessons with Nashville Symphony musicians in September, as part of a comprehensive scholarship program of activities to prepare them for music school at the college level.

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2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview

BrunoWalterConductorPreview-Rotator

Next Wednesday, May 11 at 7 pm, the Nashville Symphony and the League of American Orchestras will host the most prestigious event of its kind in North America – right here in Nashville, at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

This is a FREE concert and is open to the public.

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Anton Bruckner and his Romantic Symphony

Linz, Austria ~ engraving by J. Ouartlev, 1863

Linz, Austria ~ engraving by J. Ouartlev, 1863

Austrian composer and organist Anton Bruckner is primarily known today for his symphonies – his music is often paired with that of Gustav Mahler as the apotheosis of the late Romantic Austro-German symphonic tradition. Although Bruckner and Mahler symphonies share many characteristics – a common musical heritage and language, the robust late nineteenth century orchestra, sprawling scales and harmonies in which the symphony seems to encompass an entire world of expression – in many ways their music also differs.  Mahler was 36 years younger than Bruckner, whom Mahler admired and considered his forerunner – at 17 years old, Mahler was present at the premiere of Bruckner’s Third Symphony in 1877.  Mahler famously said “A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” and his symphonies contain myriad references to themes, experiences, and objects from life. Many of Mahler’s symphonies incorporate vocal soloists and chorus – and hence text – whereas Bruckner’s symphonies are without exception purely instrumental works (which is interesting to note as Bruckner also composed many sacred choral works in addition to his symphonic output). Bruckner’s symphonies inhabit a more abstract, elemental “tone world” than Mahler’s – every bit as overwhelming, inspiring, and at times terrifying as Mahler’s, but for the most part at more of a remove from direct references to the world we live in. The Romantic Fourth Symphony is an exception.

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