Founded in 1946, the Nashville Symphony is Tennessee’s largest professional performing arts organization. Over the past decade, NSO has built an international reputation as a first-rate professional orchestra and one of the country's most innovative orchestral institutions. The NSO presents more than 160 performances annually, offering classical, pops, jazz, and family concert series as well as a variety of special events, a Free Day of Music, free concerts in local parks and outlying communities, and comprehensive music education programs. The NSO also performs for Nashville Ballet and Nashville Opera productions and, in partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, supports a 60-member youth orchestra.
As part of its artistic vision, the orchestra is dedicated to the creation, preservation, and performance of a distinctly American repertoire. In 2000, concluding a successful East Coast tour, the orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall in a performance that was described by The New York Times as “youthful and fresh…a knockout.” In the years since, the Symphony has gained national and international attention through its growing discography and widespread coverage on public radio and television.
Over the past decade, the Symphony has released 21 recordings, most in partnership with the leading classical label Naxos, in the process earning fourteen GRAMMY® nominations, seven GRAMMY® Awards and a reputation as one of the nation’s most active recording orchestras.
The NSO built, owns, and operates the world-class Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in September 2006. During the 2006/07 season, the Symphony was selected to host the League of American Orchestras’s National Conference, which is a rare honor for a city the size of Nashville. Since then, the Schermerhorn has emerged as a premier venue for a wide variety of special events, from weddings to awards presentations to corporate gatherings.
From 1983 until his death in 2005, conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn served as the orchestra’s music director, helping to shape it into the institution it has become today. In 2006, the Symphony attracted Leonard Slatkin, one of America’s most renowned conductors, to serve as interim Music Advisor. Giancarlo Guerrero, who has had a meteoric rise on the international conducting scene, assumed the post of music director in September 2009, continuing the Symphony’s tradition of artistic excellence and innovative programming.
1. The Nashville Symphony collaborated with Nashville Ballet and the Minnesota Orchestra to commission a brand-new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Ben Folds. The orchestra presented the world premiere performances on March 13-15, 2014.
In recent years, the Nashville Symphony has enjoyed many awards and accolades — including seven GRAMMY® Awards and two well-received performances at Carnegie Hall — but its greatest achievements take place right here at home, serving the people of Middle Tennessee. Every week, our orchestra performs outstanding concerts for the public at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and the musicians share their commitment to the community through enthusiastic participation in numerous free education and engagement programs.
In the end, this is the Nashville Symphony’s greatest reward: giving back to the community that has so unwaveringly supported its success. None of the orchestra’s achievements would be possible without the countless people in Nashville and surrounding counties who believe in our mission of providing world-class performances and music education to all within our reach. We feel a deep and abiding connection to our community, whom we strive to serve better with each passing year.
The Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring that the Nashville Symphony realizes the full potential of this powerful partnership. As stewards of the community’s trust, the Board works attentively to secure the long-term sustainability of Tennessee’s largest performing arts organization. Representing a diverse cross-section of local leaders and citizens, the directors remain actively engaged in providing a solid foundation for the Nashville Symphony’s continued success.
Having guided the institution through the uncertainty of the economic downturn, followed by the May 2010 flood, the Board has full confidence in the musicians and staff, who have demonstrated their steadfast commitment to ensuring that the Nashville Symphony and its beautiful concert hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, remain a thriving and dynamic cultural institution. Knowing this, we are fully confident that the Nashville Symphony will continue to serve the Middle Tennessee community for generations to come.
The past few years have seen many challenges—first, the economic downturn in 2008, followed by the flood less than two years later—but through it all the Nashville Symphony has continued to make great music, thanks to our community' generous and enthusiastic support, the committed leadership of our Board of Directors, and the determination of our musicians and staff. In the face of every challenge, we have responded by remaining focused on our mission while ensuring that we are responsible stewards of the public’s support.
Under the leadership of our Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, our orchestra continues to build on its strong reputation for passionate musicianship and distinctive programming. Over the past several years, our recordings have earned seven GRAMMY® Awards, and our orchestra can often be heard on the national airwaves on American Public Media’s Performance Today.
Much of this attention is the result of our commitment to expanding the American repertoire with a growing list of commissions, world premieres, and recordings. Our recording of Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph Schwantner’s Chasing Light…is the latest piece in the Ford Made in America commissioning program, which is dedicated to bringing music by living composers to audiences nationwide. But the Nashville Symphony’s music is reaching even farther: Our premiere of Béla Fleck’s Concerto for Banjo in September 2011 circled all the way around the world, thanks to a webcast that reached thousands of listeners in 49 different countries.
At the Nashville Symphony, we believe that music has the power to change people’s lives for the better. When we foster innovation and creativity in our institution, we’re driven by the conviction that we can spread that adventurous, forward-thinking spirit into homes and classrooms across the region to create a stronger, more dynamic community.— Alan D. Valentine, President & CEO
The 2013/14 season is deepening the NSO’s commitment to championing the American orchestral repertoire. The NSO has earned a reputation as a leading advocate for contemporary American music. So far in 2013/14, the NSO has performed and recorded Stephen Paulus’s Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, featuring organist Nathan Laube, as well as Joan Tower's "Chamber Dance," "Stroke," and Concerto for Violin, featuring violinist Cho-Liang Lin. In March 2014, the NSO will join with Ben Folds to perform the world premiere of his Piano Concerto. The NSO will also perform works by contemporary composers John Adams and John Williams and time-honored works by Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, and George Gershwin.
Our ultimate goal is to share the excitement of live orchestral music with an engaged, increasingly diverse and continually growing audience. As we look to the future, we envision performing adventurous programs to sold-out houses on a regular basis. We can achieve this goal through a combination of musical excellence and creative programming that focuses on fresh new works that point the way forward for orchestral music in the 21st century.
Program success for our Aegis Sciences Classical Series is measured through objective means such as ticket sales and attendance; through subjective means such as applause, reviews and audience feedback; and against standards for excellence that have been established in the American orchestra industry.
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 2013/14 Bank of America Pops series consists of eight concert weekends (three concerts per weekend) and pairs the orchestra with popular icons such as Chicago, Kenny Loggins, and Roberta Flack. Additional Pops Series concerts include such diverse programs as the music of the Beatles, Mandy Barnett singing the beloved songs of Patsy Cline, and the Midtown Men performing numbers from the Broadway smash "Jersey Boys." These performances highlight the orchestra’s depth and excellence in performance across multiple musical styles.
The Symphony's Bank of America 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.
Our goal for the Bank of America Pops Series is to attract a broad and diverse audience to Schermerhorn Symphony Center with programming that features some of today’s finest pop artists. We envision presenting the highest-quality programming to sold-out houses, in the process giving music fans an opportunity to enjoy the acoustical splendor of Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the artistic excellence of the Nashville Symphony.
Program success is measured through objective means such as ticket sales and attendance and through subjective means such as applause, reviews and audience feedback via phone, email and periodic surveys from our patrons.
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.
Excellence in music education has been central to the NSO’s mission for more than six decades. NSO provides barrier-free access to music education to at-risk students. These programs are offered at no cost to schools.
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 Community Concert Series brings the NSO to public parks in Nashville and surrounding communities during the summer months, and the NSO performs annually for Nashville’s Fourth of July celebration. Community programs also include Let Freedom Sing!—a concert celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.—and the Free Day of Music, which invites the community to the Schermerhorn for a full day of musical performances. This program is notable not only because it makes the Schermerhorn accessible to the public, but also because it provides a well-attended forum for more than 30 community and student music ensembles. Other efforts include OnStage, which invites patrons to join NSO musicians onstage for informal music performances, and OffStage, which brings musicians into community venues. Classical Conversations, pre-concert talks offered before each classical concert, educate audiences and enhance their concert experience.
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. Equally important is making Schermerhorn Symphony Center accessible to as many people as possible. The Symphony can achieve these goals by continuing its free concert offerings while exploring new ways of reaching out to different cross-sections of 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, involving 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 NSO routinely performs during Nashville’s annual Fourth of July concert in Riverfront Park – exposing more than 150,000 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.
Entering its eighth season in 2013/14, the Symphony’s Jazz Series continues to attract some of the world’s leading jazz artists to perform in Nashville. In 2013/14, the Jazz Series welcomes Christ Botti, the Marcus Roberts Trio, and Diane Reeves. Jazz Series concerts feature cabaret-style seating on the floor, allowing audience members to enjoy food and wine while they listen to some of the best jazz available in Music City.
NSO's Jazz Series has succeeded in showcasing world-class jazz artists who rarely, if ever, perform for local audiences.
Our vision for the Jazz Series is to continue bringing a wide array of top jazz artists to Nashville, with the goal of exciting and energizing local jazz fans while exposing an increasing number of audience members to this distinctly American art form. This concert series supports the orchestras commitment to American music.
The quality of our Jazz Series is determined by ticket sales and attendance, along with applause, reviews and audience feedback via phone, email and surveys from our patrons.
The sustained popularity of our Jazz Series is a reliable measure of this program’s success. Nashville has long lacked a consistent, top-quality venue for jazz concerts, and the Symphony’s Jazz Series has satisfied music fans’ hunger for hearing this style of music in a live setting by presenting such major artists as pianist McCoy Tyner, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, guitarist George Benson and vocalist Al Jarreau over the past five years.
In addition to the programs listed, the Symphony produces many more programs and concerts each year, including special (non-series) concerts, a Summer Festival of orchestral music, and myriad concerts for special constituencies. These concerts—which in the 2013/14 season include our opening gala featuring soprano Renée Fleming, four holiday concerts by Vince Gill and Amy Grant and two Valentine's Day performances by Kenny Rogers—allow the Nashville Symphony to present a diverse array of events intended to engage listeners of all ages, backgrounds, and musical tastes.
Of particular note, 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 2013/14 season includes: “Peter and the Wolf”; “The Snowman,” featuring an audiovisual presentation; “Fairy Tales;” and Stravinsky's “Firebird,” featuring Enchantment Theatre.
The Nashville Symphony is governed by a 63-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.
Chad Boyd was appointed Chief Financial Officer of the Nashville Symphony in December 2013. He most recently served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance for Reeves-Sain Family of Medical Services in Murfreesboro, TN. Prior to his work for Reeves-Sain, he spent five years as owner and operator of the Chad Boyd Studio, a portrait painting studio and teaching center offering heirloom portraiture, fine art paintings, painting workshops, and classes. Boyd also served as Controller/CAO at MedAlliance and later co-founded CIMplify, a privately held physician practice management company headquartered in Franklin, TN. He graduated cum laude with an accounting degree from Lipscomb University.
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.
Through frequent attendance and generous annual contributions, the Nashville community supports and validates our mission to provide unparalleled musical experiences throughout Middle Tennessee. This support comes from generous corporations and foundations, as well as from thousands of individuals who are committed to helping Nashville fulfill its potential as the world’s greatest music center.
Our goal is to more than double our base of reliable, renewable annual support—from $4 million in 2013 to $10 million by 2018 – in order to provide the financial infrastructure necessary to fulfill our mission. To accomplish this, we will continue to expand our base of support at all levels. Our Board of Directors, musicians and staff have already deepened their commitment to the Nashville Symphony through their tireless work, sacrifices, and generous contributions.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215