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 26 recordings since 2000. These recordings have received a total of 20 GRAMMY® nominations and eleven 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 annually 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.
Achieving these goals will require broad community investment from dedicated partners and philanthropists to promote and preserve the Nashville Symphony’s indispensable cultural mission.
During the 2015/16 season, the Nashville Symphony sold 199,266 tickets to performances in the concert hall, purchased by Middle Tennesseans as well as visitors from across the United States and around the world. Over 90% of ticket purchases are made by Tennesseans from across the state. Visitors from 49 states and 31 countries also attended Nashville Symphony performances, an indication of the Nashville Symphony’s stature as a performing arts organization on a global scale.
behalf of the entire Nashville Symphony — musicians, chorus, board members,
volunteers and staff — I would like to express our profound gratitude to the
Middle Tennessee community. Not only has your support kept our institution
strong, it has kept us laser-focused on our mission of providing excellent
musical, cultural and educational experiences for people of all ages and
backgrounds. Everything we do here at the Nashville Symphony begins and ends
Ranging from GRAMMY® Awards to world premieres to ground-breaking education programs, the Nashville Symphony’s achievements demonstrate the many ways that the community’s support has kept your Nashville Symphony moving forward. Because of you, today we have a strong, stable foundation on which to build an even more exciting and visionary future for your orchestra.
Over the past few years, we have made great strides in securing our long-term sustainability. Our goal now is to attain true fiscal vitality, for this will enable us to achieve our greatest artistic ambitions and to serve even more people in our growing community. At our core is a commitment to delivering great orchestral music — not only classic masterworks by Beethoven and Brahms, but also bold new compositions that help us understand, appreciate and explore the contemporary American experience.
To make this commitment to excellence and innovation truly meaningful, we must ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to experience the Nashville Symphony and to learn through music. Our musicians reach tens of thousands of students each year by providing free concerts and hands-on learning opportunities here at the Schermerhorn and in schools across the region. As we look to the future, we will work to engage, inspire and activate even more people through programs that have a profound and lasting impact on their lives, from childhood through adulthood.
We are amazingly lucky to live and work in a community where music is an inseparable part of our identity. As Music City’s resident orchestra, we are here to serve you. We thank you for believing in your Nashville Symphony. We will continue to be diligent stewards of your support so that we can continue to make life in Middle Tennessee richer for everyone.
Record-breaking ticket sales, attendance and contributions over the past few years have shown us that the community’s support for your Nashville Symphony has never been stronger. We are hugely grateful to the people of Middle Tennessee for believing in our institution, and in return, we are committed to providing amazing musical experiences every week here at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. All of this success bodes well for a future in which the Nashville Symphony will become even more vital to the life of our community.
Along with our growing financial successes, we have celebrated some major accomplishments in 2015/16. We partnered with the Library of Congress and other institutions to commission a new work by Jennifer Higdon, a composer with Tennessee roots, and we released three new recordings, including Ben Folds’ So There, which topped the Billboard Classical Albums chart. Our commitment to recording American music of the highest quality was recognized with the orchestra’s eighth GRAMMY® Award, and we launched an exciting new initiative, Composer Lab, that will help to shape a whole new generation of American composers.
Other notable highlights include the hiring of two new orchestra members from a highly competitive national applicant pool, and our first concerts in the stunning new Ascend Amphitheatre, which will make it possible for us to add even more to the vibrancy of downtown Nashville. We also look forward to welcoming the next generation of conducting talent to Nashville for the League of American Orchestras’ Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, which attracts orchestra representatives from across the country.
There have been just as many inspiring moments that happen out of public view, as our musicians work side-by-side with students in lessons, sectionals and youth orchestra rehearsals, sharing wisdom earned through years of teaching and performing. We continue to find ways to innovate in our educational programming, most notably through our Accelerando initiative, which seeks to build the next generation of orchestra musicians by providing mentorship, instruction and guidance to young musicians from ethnic communities underrepresented in today’s American orchestras. A $959,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will ensure that Accelerando has a strong financial foundation for its first six years.
Amid all of these achievements, I remain proudest of the phenomenal artistry, creativity and musicianship of our conductors, orchestra and chorus, who have delivered some of the most inspired performances I’ve experienced in my 18 years with the Nashville Symphony. Whether this orchestra is performing timeless masterpieces by Beethoven and Mozart, exploring the full breadth of great classical repertoire, or forging new directions in contemporary American music, your Nashville Symphony is deeply committed to making the music come alive for audiences of all ages, backgrounds and life experiences.
The Nashville Symphony will dedicate its 2016/17 Classical Series to a celebration of American music, performing works by American composers on each of the 14 Classical Series concerts. The orchestra will also record six works by living American composers, including Jonathan Leshnoff, Aaron Jay Kernis, Terry Riley, Kerry Turner, Iranian-American composer Behzad Ranjbaran, and John Harbison.
The recording project with John Harbison is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Harbison will be on hand to offer pre-concert lectures and work with Symphony musicians and chorus members.
Audiences will also enjoy masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire during the 2016/17 season. Orchestral favorites include Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, Holst’s The Planets, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, and Ravel’s Bolero.
To view upcoming concerts, please visit:
Nashville Symphony Classical Series
The Symphony's Aegis Sciences Classical Series has succeeded in providing its audiences opportunities to experience traditional and adventurous programming performed by a world-class orchestra.
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. Affordable and complimentary tickets to the Nashville Symphony’s Classical Series will ensure that Middle Tennessee audiences of diverse ages and backgrounds experience the joy and pleasure of orchestral music.
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, as well as ticket sales and attendance
numbers. The Symphony 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 Symphony has won grants from the
National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and Women’s
Evaluating the success of concert offerings in the local Middle Tennessee market is primarily based on patron feedback, ticket sales, demand for services, and press reviews, among other methods.
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 over
the ensuing decade have built on that growth. Ticket sales in 2016 will set a
new all-time record for the organization. Other indicators of success include a
total of 17 GRAMMY® nominations and eight GRAMMY® Awards for our recordings,
which attest to our artistic growth; and our performance 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 2016/17 Pops Series consists of eight concert weekends, pairing the orchestra with musical icons such as Peter Cetera, The Temptations, the Chieftains, Michael Feinstein, and more. These performances highlight the orchestra’s depth and excellence in performance across a wide variety of musical styles. Of particular note this season, the orchestra will collaborate with Nashville-based singer Mandy Barnett on a program devoted to the Nashville Songbook, a celebration of our city’s unique musical culture.
Nashville Symphony Pops Series
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, the Nashville Symphony gives music fans across the region the opportunity to enjoy the superb acoustics of Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the artistic quality of the orchestra.
Evaluating the success
of the Pops Series is based on patron feedback, ticket sales, demand for
services, and press reviews, among other methods.
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 over the ensuring decade have built on that growth. These figures indicate that we are continuing to engage our most dedicated patrons while also attracting new audience members.
The NSO offers the following educational programs:
In addition to the above programs, the Nashville Symphony engages area youth and their families through activities such as:
The long-term goal of the Nashville Symphony’s education programming
is to provide comprehensive, barrier-free access to arts education programs for
students across Middle Tennessee and to serve as a resource for families and
schools. With school arts programs facing budgetary and resource limitations,
the Symphony works to keep music education thriving in the classroom. As part
of its commitment to serving the community, 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.
In evaluating the Nashville Symphony's education programs, Dr. Robert Horowitz of the Center for Arts Education at the Columbia University's Teachers College 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 invites audiences members to sit on the stage of the concert hall and features intimate performances that give the community access to the top-notch artistry of the musicians of the Nashville Symphony.
To learn more about our community engagement programs, please visit the Nashville Symphony’s website.
The Nashville Symphony’s community engagement programs annually reach more than 175,000 people from across Middle Tennessee. This year, the orchestra took its free Community Concerts series to a new location, a public greenspace in the diverse Antioch neighborhood, and undertook special efforts to ensure that residents of the area were aware of the concert.
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 Lafayette,
are community events that involve volunteer committees and collaborations
with other organizations. Attendance at these concerts is routinely high. The
Symphony performs during Nashville’s annual Fourth of July concert in Riverfront
Park – exposing 134,000 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 listeners of all ages, including senior citizens, 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.
To see information about upcoming concerts, please visit the Nashville Symphony’s website.
The Nashville Symphony created the
Coffee & Classics Series during the 2013/14 season. In its first season,
these concerts drew, on average, 621 patrons per concert. During the 15/16
season, Coffee & Classics concerts drew an average attendance of 725 people
per concert. The growing audience for the Coffee & Classics Series
indicates that the Nashville Symphony is meeting a clear need for daytime
cultural programming 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 2016/17 season, notable performances include concerts with Ben Folds, Michael W. Smith, Frankie Valli, and Arlo Guthrie, along with a special collaboration with Nashville Ballet. In 16/17, the orchestra will perform a series of movie concerts, playing the soundtracks of Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while the films are projected overhead.
The Ann & Monroe Carell Family Trust Pied Piper Family Series offers four Saturday-morning concerts for children and families, with pre-concert activities and an interactive Instrument Petting Zoo. The 2016/17 season includes performances of beloved pieces by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and more.
The Nashville Symphony is governed by a 50-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:
1. To make a significant, personally meaningful contribution to the Annual Campaign.
2. Leverage personal and corporate influence to secure individual contributions and sponsorship support for the Annual Campaign.
3. Purchase subscriptions (preferably the Classical Series), attend concerts, and bring guests to enjoy the Nashville Symphony's artistic excellence.
4. Attend Board meetings and actively participate in policy discussions and decisions.
5. Serve on at least one committee to support the artistic and cultural mission of the orchestra.
6. Attend at least one educational activity or event to better understand the organization's work in the community.
7. Advocate on behalf of the orchestra to the community.
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 11 GRAMMY® Awards and 20 GRAMMY® nominations; more than 26 highly regarded and best-selling CD releases on Naxos, Decca and other 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.
Marye Walker Lewis, a native Nashvillian, joined the Nashville Symphony in 2015 as Chief Financial Officer. She began her career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen, LLC, as an auditor, and worked with clients of both for profit and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining the Nashville Symphony, Marye was Vice President & Controller for Health To You, LLC, a subsidiary of HCA, where she led the Finance & Accounting function from 2011 through 2015. Previous to this time, Marye held various Vice President & Controller positions, and has a wide range of experience in all aspects of accounting, budgeting, management, financial forecasting, financial operations, treasury management, and implementing & improving internal controls.
Marye is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Tennessee, and holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration-Accounting Major from Middle Tennessee State University.
Marye is also a member of the Tennessee Society of CPAs, and the American Institute of CPAs, and has served in a volunteer capacity with St. Cecilia Academy, Dress for Success, and Cathedral of the Incarnation, advising in various budgetary and financial related matters.
Ashley Skinner joined the Nashville Symphony in August of 2007 and is responsible for all aspects of human resources and volunteer services. Prior to joining the Nashville Symphony, Ashley worked for Michael Baker International and Grant Thornton UK LLP. Ashley holds a Master of Education in Human Resource Development from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rollins College. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) as well as a Society for Human Resource Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). She has been a member of the Society for Human Resource Management since 2008.
Larry Tucker is well-respected in the classical music field for his diverse experience and collaborative, hands-on approach to artist management and artistic planning. As a successful artist manager with Columbia Artists Management Inc., he represented some of the world’s most distinguished artists, including Maurizio Pollini, Marilyn Horne, Montserrat Caballé and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and he has toured with many great orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle and London Symphony Orchestra.
Larry has worked with two major American orchestras, the Seattle Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, raising their level of guest artists and conductors. He played a major role in bringing celebrated conductor Edo de Waart to Milwaukee as its new music director. Innovative in his collaboration with marketing and development, he helped create and host many events for those departments and often served as the spokesperson for both symphonies.
Larry was the former chairman of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, and he has served as a member of the board of Frankly Music, NARAS and local community boards. In December 2010, he served on the NEA Grants Panel.
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:
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.
Operating results for FY 2016 showed a positive balance of $339K, which represents an improvement of 146% over the prior year’s operating loss of $732K. Record ticket sales, contributions, building rental income and off-site performance revenue played a key role in the Nashville Symphony’s strong financial performance, as did a one-time cash reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) related to expenses from the flood recovery in 2010. A recap of the Nashville Symphony’s FY 2016 audit is below:
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215