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Here is your interactive, one-stop rundown of the Nashville Symphony’s 12th Annual Free Day of Music. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 21, as always at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Performances showcasing more than 20 different musical acts will be presented 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 below to learn more!
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.)
I was thrilled this week to be a part of this season’s Jazz OnStage: an exciting part of the OnStage series of free chamber music concerts at the Nashville Symphony.
The OnStage series is a longstanding part of the Nashville Symphony’s community engagement programming – I’ve written about these programs in a number of previous posts here on Off The Podium. The concept behind OnStage is simple: on selected weeknights throughout the season, Nashville Symphony musicians present an early evening chamber music concert in which the audience is seated on the stage with the musicians, and the program includes the opportunity for dialogue between the musicians and the audience.
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.
Last night I had the great fortune to be a part of a fine ensemble of musicians performing our very first Jazz OnStage: part of the OnStage series of free chamber music concerts at the Nashville Symphony.
The OnStage series has been a part of the Nashville Symphony’s community engagement programming for many years now, and I’ve written about these programs in a number of previous posts here on Off The Podium. The concept of the program is simple: on selected weeknights throughout the season, Nashville Symphony musicians present an early evening chamber music concert in which the audience is seated on the stage with the musicians, and the program includes the opportunity for dialogue between the musicians and the audience.
Our consumer culture has a strong tendency to overshadow other human values and reduce every aspect of human life and culture to an economic appraisal. This is as true of music as it is of anything else.
I’ve thought about this a lot over the years and discussed it many times with students and colleagues. Recently it was brought to my attention when a blog post about “the value of music” and “the state of the music industry” over at The Boot from a few years ago resurfaced on my FaceBook feed. The post is called Vince Gill Discouraged by “Mind-Numbing” Country Music.
One night when I was a child – this would have been sometime in the 1970s – I was in bed but had not yet fallen asleep when my mother came to my room and got me to come see something important that was about to be shown on television.
This was back when all television was broadcast: before streaming, before cable, before Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS, or Beta. There were 3 commercial networks and PBS had only been broadcasting for a few years – so if something came on TV and it was important or interesting, you had to set aside time to watch it then or you would miss it, with no chance to see it again. In those days, many people organized their lives and made plans around the scheduled broadcasts of programs or events they wanted to see.
So I shuffled down the hall to my parents’ bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed in my pajamas, peering up at the small black-and white TV set that sat on a shelf high on the wall. (What seemed to my young eyes and ears like) a dowdily dressed old black woman in coke-bottle glasses stood in front of a piano trio and proceeded to astound me with the most outlandish and virtuosic singing I had ever heard. At first she sang what seemed to my limited experience to be a pretty conventional rendition (of a song I did not know – in my memory she sang How High the Moon and A-Tisket, A-Tasket in this broadcast but I don’t know if that’s accurate as I’ve been unable to locate a video on the internet that syncs with my memory of this moment) but then she closed her eyes and started to make strange movements with the hand not holding the microphone as she sang what become obvious to me was not the song but just something wild she was making up, singing nonsense. My mother told me this was called scat singing. I thought that scat was another word for poop but I didn’t say anything, I just sat there mesmerized, listening intently until it was over. I’d never heard anything like it.
It was Ella Fitzgerald of course. My father said something about Ella being the greatest jazz singer in the world, and it was clear to me (they got me out of bed to see this, after all) that to my parents – who seemed to regard this television event with the same weighty regard they had given to astronauts landing on the moon or President Nixon resigning from office – this crazy old lady was something special – anyway, she was on TV, and that was important in it’s own right. I went to bed when it was over, but sitting in my parents room that night watching Ella sing on TV made a strong impression on me, and I never forgot it.
It is my first “jazz” memory.
Keith turns seventy today. For those reading this who are not familiar with him, Keith Jarrett is an American treasure, and one of the most important musicians alive today. He is among the most accomplished improvising musicians in history and we are fortunate that we live in the age of recording technology: we have a voluminous record of his career spanning nearly five decades that catalogs his development as an artist, as well as many of his experiments and side-projects. In addition to his stature now as senior jazz statesman, Keith is also an accomplished performer of classical music, with many recordings of Bach and Mozart, etc. as well as music of 20th century composers (including himself) to his credit.
I realize that beginning a post with superlatives is contentious, but considering Keith and his life as a musician, it seems fitting to me – he has been nothing if not controversial. Through his entire career Keith has very much followed his own path, refusing to compromise on his ideals even to his own detriment. Looking back on his career as he enters his eighth decade, I am not familiar with any other pianist who has accomplished such profound music-making as both jazz and classical artist. I am aware of no other musician of any genre or instrument who has filled concert halls consistently for decades with audiences who come to hear completely improvised solo concerts, led several acclaimed jazz ensembles including the longest lived (more than 30 years) and most respected piano trio still performing today, and devoted a substantial amount of time (more than a decade) and energy to recording and performing classical music, as a soloist and concerto performer, and as a composer. There is nobody else who has done this, nor done it so well, nor for so long.