Nashville Symphony Announces Return, Unveils 75th Anniversary Season

Mike Lawson • News • May 19, 2021

After devastating shutdown and 18-month pause, orchestra to resume regular performances at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Highlights include Beethoven’s First and Ninth, Firebird with the Nashville Ballet and two recording projects; guest artists include Leslie Odom, Jr., Police drummer Stewart Copeland and Ben Folds

More details from the Nashville Symphony (

As it emerges from one of the most challenging periods in its history, the Nashville Symphony is thrilled to announce its 2021/22 season, featuring a full slate of more than 100 classical, pops, jazz and family concerts with the GRAMMY®-winning orchestra, as well as appearances by top-flight guest artists, film favorites with live orchestra, and more.

The 2021/22 season also marks the Nashville Symphony’s 75th Anniversary, making the coming year even more momentous for the orchestra, which has been in a state of dramatically reduced activity since suspending all concerts in March 2020.

“Throughout its history, the Nashville Symphony has experienced its share of triumphs and challenges,” said President & CEO Alan Valentine. “But none of us could have imagined the year that we have all just experienced. As we reemerge together from the pandemic, the Nashville Symphony looks forward to helping our community heal and celebrating our orchestra’s rich history of resilience, artistic vibrancy and community service. We are beyond excited as we prepare to welcome audiences back to the Schermerhorn safely, and we are looking to the future with great anticipation as we devote ourselves to becoming an even more community-focused organization.”

The new season kicks off on Sept. 16-18, 2021, with Fanfare for Music City, a program opening with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, two works that will celebrate the essential workers who have played critical roles throughout the pandemic.

Recognizing the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, the Nashville Symphony has planned to start its season with social distancing onstage and in the concert hall, with plans for reaching full capacity by January 2022. The organization will continue to assess changing conditions and may open up audience capacity sooner, based on guidance provided by its health and safety partner, HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health.

Curated and led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the Nashville Symphony’s Amazon Classical Series will open with chamber orchestra performances in the fall, leading up to the moment when the full orchestra is reunited onstage in January for performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 and Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony. The orchestra will continue its ongoing commitment to promoting and recording the work of contemporary American composers, including Brad Warnaar and Nashville’s own C.F. Kip Winger.

Closing out the 75th Anniversary season will be a performance Beethoven’s Ninth with the Nashville Symphony Chorus. The performance will also include a newly commissioned work by Nashville Symphony violist Christopher Farrell, as well as works by Augusta Read Thomas and Nashville Symphony Composer Lab fellow Brian Raphael Nabors.

“For the past year I have been lucky enough to make music with several orchestras in Europe, so I have become an expert at working with the smaller, distanced orchestra,” Guerrero said. “Working with a smaller orchestra allows for a unique intimacy that would normally be harder to achieve with our full orchestra. The smaller ensembles allow more possibility of interaction, more of a chamber ensemble atmosphere, giving us the chance to connect in a very gratifying way.

“While I am so looking forward to having all of the musicians back onstage by the end of the season, the reduced orchestra size this fall will allow us to dive into repertoire that we have never performed before. This season, the orchestra and I will get to flex some new creative muscles. Even as we relearn what normal is, there is an opportunity to be more than what we were. We can learn from these challenges and get to something better than normal. The bumps along the road can become tools to finding better ways to serve our musicians and our community.”

Led by Principal Pops Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez, the FirstBank Pops Series includes appearances by Leslie Odom, Jr., Stewart Copeland of The Police and Ben Folds, all performing with the Nashville Symphony. The Jazz Series welcomes Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, plus a first-ever Schermerhorn appearance by Pat Metheny. And following the successful debut of the Symphony’s Movie Series in 2019/20, season ticket packages will again be available for film screenings with the orchestra, with titles including The Muppet Christmas Carol, Toy Story, Back to the Future and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Other highlights of the forthcoming season include a special performance of Copland’s Billy the Kid and Stravinsky’s The Firebird with the Nashville Ballet; Latin Fire, a Latin-themed program led by Lopez-Yañez and featuring trumpeter José Sibaja and soprano Mónica Abrego; a one-night appearance by Ballet Folklórico de México; Kool & the Gang making their first Nashville appearance in a decade; and the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Orchestra World Tour returning to Nashville.

For a full listing of the Nashville Symphony’s 2021/22 lineup, visit


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