Led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and President and CEO Alan D. Valentine, the Nashville Symphony is an essential artistic institution and educational resource in Middle Tennessee. Founded in 1946, the 83-member orchestra is today the largest performing arts nonprofit in Tennessee. With 140 performances annually, the Nashville Symphony’s concert schedule encompasses a diverse mix of classical, pops, jazz and family programs, along with extensive community engagement efforts.
As part of its artistic vision, the Nashville Symphony is a leading proponent of American orchestral music. The orchestra pursues an aggressive program of performing works by American composers from all periods, preserving contemporary American compositions through high-quality commercial recordings, and expanding the American repertoire through commissioning projects. The Nashville Symphony has earned significant national recognition for its commitment to innovative programming, including numerous ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Aaron Copland Fund for Music. The orchestra connects local audiences to leading creative voices in American music to advance the art form and create the next generation of symphonic favorites.
The Nashville Symphony is one of the most active recording orchestras in the United States. In partnership with Naxos, the orchestra has released 25 recordings since 2000. These recordings have received a total of 15 GRAMMY® nominations and seven GRAMMY® wins, including two for Best Orchestral Performance—one awarded to Joan Tower’s Made in America and the other to Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony.
Music education and community engagement have been at the heart of the Nashville Symphony’s mission since the orchestra’s beginnings. The organization now reaches more than 100,000 adults and children annual through its free education and community engagement programs. Every week during the school year, musicians and staff work directly with students across Middle Tennessee, offering performances, classroom presentations, curricular materials, instrument lessons and other hands-on learning opportunities. The Nashville Symphony’s Community Concerts series brings the orchestra’s music and artistry to neighborhoods across the region.
The Nashville Symphony’s Board of Directors is comprised of community leaders who understand the tremendous value that this organization brings to the people of Middle Tennessee. Our role is to help guide Tennessee’s largest performing arts nonprofit so that it may serve generations to come with the highest-caliber music, education and engagement programs. Our goal is no less than to transform where we live into a happier, healthier and more vibrant place by sharing the life-changing power of the arts with everyone in our midst.
During my time as a member of the Nashville Symphony’s Board of Directors, and now in my current role as Board Chair, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: This institution may have faced significant challenges over the past few years, but the Nashville Symphony will continue to thrive thanks to the many patrons and donors who believe in our artistic and educational mission.
The remarkable growth of our orchestra and the construction of Schermerhorn Symphony Center could not have happened without the extraordinarily generous donors who have provided a solid foundation for our institution, the bank lenders who financed our building, and the patrons who share their excitement and applause at every concert. Those very same parties are the reason we are still here today, and the reason we will continue to serve our community at the very highest level.
At the heart of everything we do, of course, are the musicians of the Nashville Symphony. These remarkable individuals have made sacrifices over the past few years that have enabled the organization to control its expenses while at the very same time deepening its commitment to the entire Middle Tennessee region. Whether they are delivering stunning performances of Beethoven symphonies, premiering exciting new works, or offering free concerts and lessons to students throughout the region, our musicians have inspired countless children and adults through their artistry and love for music.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would also like to express my deepest confidence in the Nashville Symphony staff, who have made their own sacrifices and worked tirelessly to provide a strong, sustainable foundation for our orchestra. Your professionalism and perseverance are helping to make the Nashville Symphony into an even stronger organization, and your hard work promises many great things to come.
Lastly and most importantly, I want to say “thank you” to the people who matter most: our patrons, our donors and our volunteers. You have lifted the Nashville Symphony up with your love and support. You’ve provided for our success by purchasing tickets, making contributions and giving your time and talents to ensure that future generations of Tennesseans have the opportunity to experience the thrill of live orchestral music. I feel deeply honored to be entrusted with the care and stewardship of this orchestra, and I know that with your continuing support, the Nashville Symphony will have a very bright future.
—James Seabury III, Board Chair, Nashville Symphony
During my 16 years with the Nashville Symphony, I’ve experienced
some amazing highlights, including two trips to Carnegie Hall, the opening of
Schermerhorn Symphony Center and multiple GRAMMY® Awards for our recordings.
It’s hard to imagine greater achievements, but I can truly say that I am every
bit as proud of the work that our remarkable musicians and staff have
accomplished just in the past two years.
Our organization has experienced significant challenges of late, but we have emerged from those challenges stronger than ever, as so clearly indicated by the milestones we have marked. We set an all-time ticket sales record for our organization in 2013/14, with an astounding $8.6 million in revenue. Just as importantly, we saw growth in our concert attendance across the board, with more people coming to Schermerhorn Symphony Center to enjoy music of all genres — foremost among those the great orchestral repertoire.
—Alan D. Valentine, President & CEO
The Nashville Symphony is
performing and expanding the American orchestral repertoire in its 2014/15
Classical Series. The orchestra will give the world-premiere performances of
three newly commissioned works: The Bass
Whisperer, a collaborative work created by Nashville-based composer Conni
Ellisor and electric bassist Victor Wooten; “Walt Whitman Songs” by Richard
Danielpour; and a new Cello Concerto by Michael Daugherty. The Nashville
Symphony will also perform works from the American orchestral repertoire by
John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Tobias Picker,
Christopher Rouse, and Frank Ticheli.
Audiences will also enjoy masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire during the 2014/15 season. Orchestral favorites include Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6.
The Nashville Symphony seeks to redefine the place of the modern orchestra in contemporary American culture through adventurous programming of new music, creative collaborations with a variety of artists, and top-notch performances of the symphonic canon. Over the long term, the Nashville Symphony's Classical Series will contribute to the growth and recognition of the next generation of orchestral favorites written by American composers. Middle Tennessee audiences will experience the joy and pleasure of the orchestral art form through the Nashville Symphony's Classical Series.
The Nashville Symphony seeks to achieve recognized artistic success in high-quality performances and adventurous programming. The organization measures progress toward these goals through recognition by industry peers and competitive programs. The NSO was awarded ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming—which are presented annually at the League of American Orchestras national conference—in 2011, 2012, and 2013 in recognition of its dedication to performing contemporary music. Nationally competitive grants from esteemed grant makers also indicate the high quality of the NSO’s artistic work. In recent years, the NSO has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy.
Already, since the opening of Schermerhorn Symphony Center in 2006, we have experienced significant audience growth. In our first season in the new concert hall, paid audiences increased by 145 percent, and figures for each season since then have maintained that expanded growth. Notably, we earned $1.2 million more in 08/09 ticket sales over that of the year before. Other indicators of success include a total of 14 GRAMMY® nominations and seven GRAMMY® Awards for our recordings, which attest to our artistic growth; and our recent invitation to perform on a Saturday night at Carnegie Hall in May 2012, which affirms that both our musicianship and our programming are of a quality to merit national attention.
The Nashville Symphony’s 2014/15 FirstBank Pops Series
consists of eight concert weekends and pairs the orchestra with musical icons
such as Boyz II Men, Kenny Rogers, Styx, Bernadette Peters, and Kenny G. These
performances highlight the orchestra’s depth and excellence in performance
across a wide variety of musical styles.
The Nashville Symphony's Pops Series has succeeded in bringing a diverse slate of high-quality performers to Nashville, representing styles as wide-ranging as rock, country, jazz, and Broadway.
The Pops Series seeks to attract a broad and diverse audience to Schermerhorn Symphony Center with programming that features some of today’s finest pop artists. By presenting the highest-quality programming to sold-out houses, music fans across the region enjoy the superb acoustics of Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the artistic excellence of the Nashville Symphony.
As noted above, we have experienced significant audience growth since the opening of Schermerhorn Symphony Center in 2006. In our first season in the new concert hall, paid audiences increased by 145 percent, and figures for each season since then have maintained that expanded growth. These figures indicate that we are continuing to engage our most dedicated patrons while also attracting new audience members.
The Nashville Symphony offers music education programs to all public, private, charter, and home schools in Middle Tennessee. These programs are offered at no cost to schools or students to ensure that every child has the opportunity to discover a lifelong passion for music.
The Nashville Symphony engaged more than 80,000 students through its education programs last season, a number which grows annually, demonstrating community demand for educational programming.
The long-term goal of the Nashville Symphony’s education department is to continue to provide comprehensive, barrier-free access to arts education programs for students across Middle Tennessee, and by doing so continue to be a resource for families and schools. With school budgets facing increasing stresses as a result of the economy, the Symphony wishes to ensure that arts education thrives in the classroom. The Symphony will ensure that its education programs continue to be available to all students and teachers, whether they are in public, private or home schools.
The quality of the Nashville Symphony’s music education programs is determined by the number of people served, demand for services in the schools, and feedback from teachers, children, volunteers and musicians. For example, evaluation forms are distributed to teachers after every Young People’s Concert, to guide the Symphony’s education staff in revising and refining the program for effectiveness and musical quality. To ensure the success of One Note, One Neighborhood, this program is being evaluated independently by Dr. Robert Horowitz of the Center for Arts Education Research at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
In an evaluation report for One Note, One Neighborhood, Dr. Horowitz reported that parents noticed positive changes in their children’s behavior as they learned to perform on their instruments, students expressed increased confidence and interest in developing their musical skills, and teachers reported becoming more comfortable using musical techniques in teaching curriculum courses. Music teachers gave positive feedback on how effectively professional-development workshops have assisted them with new teaching techniques.
The Nashville Symphony’s community engagement programs
connect the orchestra with people across Middle Tennessee through free concerts
at Schermerhorn Symphony Center and other venues across the region. Community Concerts bring the Nashville Symphony to public
parks each summer, culminating
with the orchestra’s annual performance for the Nashville Fourth of July
celebration. The Free Day of Music invites the community to the concert hall for performances throughout the day by dozens of local musical groups and
the Nashville Symphony. “Let Freedom Sing!” celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the ongoing impact of the Civil
Rights movement . OnStage takes place on the stage of the concert hall and features intimate performances by increase the
community’s access to the top-notch artistry of the musicians of the Nashville Symphony.
The Nashville Symphony’s community engagement programs annually reach more than 175,000 people from across Middle Tennessee.
The Nashville Symphony seeks to share the experience of orchestral music with Middle Tennessee’s growing and increasingly diverse population, both by inviting people to Schermerhorn Symphony Center and taking the orchestra out to parks and other venues in the community.
The success of the Symphony’s community engagement programs is determined by total number of people served, demand for the orchestra’s services by the public, successful implementation of high-quality presentations, the ability to reschedule due to unforeseen events, and feedback from the public and community partners.
The Nashville Symphony has held annual community concerts for many years. Some of these, including the “Let Freedom Sing!” concert and concerts in the outlying communities of Lebanon and Shelbyville, are community events that involve volunteer committees and collaborations with other organizations. Attendance at these concerts is routinely high — including a completely packed house for the “Let Freedom Sing!” concert. The Symphony performs during Nashville’s annual Fourth of July concert in Riverfront Park – exposing more than 100,000 people to a live orchestral performance. In addition, demand for the Nashville Symphony’s services is high, and the orchestra attempts to accommodate as many concerts as the musicians’ schedules will allow.
The Coffee & Classics Series is a daytime concert series that features masterpieces from the orchestral repertoire. Designed to connect senior citizens in Middle Tennessee to accessible musical experiences at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the concerts are offered at an affordable price ($24–$50) at 10:30 a.m. on Friday mornings. Coffee and pastries are served in the main lobby before performances, giving audience members an opportunity to socialize before the concert. Patrons can take tours of Schermerhorn Symphony Center and enjoy lunch in the cafe after the concert.
The Nashville Symphony created the Coffee & Classics Series during the 2013/14 season. During first season of this series, the four concerts drew an average attendance of 621 people per concert. Thus far during the 2014/15 season, 4,800 tickets have been sold for these four concerts. Two concerts have already taken place this season and have drawn an average audience of 1,300 per concert. The extraordinary year-over-year growth in the audience for the Coffee & Classics Series indicates that the Nashville Symphony is meeting a clear need for daytime cultural programming for senior citizens in Nashville and across Middle Tennessee.
In addition to the concert series listed, the Nashville Symphony produces many more concerts each year. Special event concerts pair the orchestra with popular guest artists for one or two nights throughout the year. During the 2014/15 season, notable performances have included a concert with world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and holiday-themed performances with the legendary Tony Bennett. During the summer of 2015, the orchestra will perform a series of movie concerts, playing the soundtracks while the films are projected overhead.
The Nashville Symphony is governed by a 60-member Board of Directors comprised of a cross-section of the community. Board members agree to a set of mutual expectations when they accept a seat on the Nashville Symphony Board of Directors:
Alan D. Valentine joined the Nashville Symphony as its President and CEO in June 1998. Since then, he has presided over an unprecedented period of growth at the Symphony, highlighted by seven GRAMMY® Awards and 14 GRAMMY® nominations; dozens of highly regarded and best-selling CD releases on the Naxos and Decca labels; a total of nine national television broadcasts, one of which won the Symphony an Emmy Award; multiple national radio appearances; a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut and sold-out East Coast tour; two consecutive and very successful endowment campaigns in which a total of $145 million was raised; and the construction of the world-class, acoustically superb Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in September 2006.
Prior to his Nashville appointment, Valentine served for 10 years as executive director of the Oklahoma Philharmonic Society in Oklahoma City, Okla. In addition, he served on the adjunct faculty of Oklahoma City University, where he taught graduate-level arts administration courses. A graduate of the University of Houston, Valentine also served as the chief executive of the Mid-Columbia Symphony in Richland, Wash., the Greensboro (N.C.) Symphony and the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association.
The Nashville Symphony is dedicated to achieving the highest standard for excellence in musical performance and educational programs, while engaging the community, enriching audiences and shaping cultural life.
Over the past year, the Nashville Symphony has:
During this same period, through extraordinary generosity, cooperation and hard work, the Nashville Symphony has also:
We have emerged a more financially sound organization, now fully focused on the future. During this challenging time, the organization has remained committed to its mission of artistic excellence and community service.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215