About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.

Music Review: NSO premieres Victor Wooten’s and Conni Ellisor’s ‘The Bass Whisperer’


Some sounds are seldom heard inside a classical concert hall. For instance, one rarely encounters a high-art concerto for electric-bass guitar and orchestra at a symphony concert. More uncommon still is the sound of a fan shrieking (with delight, I might add) at the sight of a bass player. Yet both novelties were witnessed at […]

Music Review: Gateway Chamber Orchestra opens its 2014-15 season with a Mozartean masterpiece


There are undoubtedly times when musicians in a small, local orchestra wonder if there will ever be as many people in the audience as on the stage. At one time, such thoughts must have gone through the minds of musicians in the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. This terrific ensemble had a loyal following in its hometown […]

Gateway Chamber Orchestra opens its 2014-15 season with a little help from Amadeus


CLARKSVILLE – The Gateway Chamber Orchestra is celebrating Mozart’s love affair with the clarinet. For the opening of its 2014-15 season, Gateway will present Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, an autumnal work that’s renowned for its symphonic brilliance and lyrical invention. Charles Neidich, one of the world’s foremost clarinetists and a noted Mozart interpreter, […]

Music Review: Huebl and Nies launch their season-long Mozart project at Ingram Hall


Pianist Craig Nies was back in his tuxedo on Friday, engaging once again in his apparent life-long quest to play every piece of music mentioned in the 29-volume New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. For his latest project, Nies is joining violinist Carolyn Huebl to perform all 16 of Mozart’s mature violin sonatas (the […]

Dance Review: New Dialect attracts record crowd to Oz Nashville


Oz Nashville bills its Thursday Night Things (TNT) series as a blank canvas, a clean slate that encourages local artists to experiment and try new things. Last night’s TNT, however, seemed more like the opening of a much anticipated new restaurant, one serving a cuisine that the population has long been craving. The featured item […]

Dance Preview: New Dialect premieres new works at Oz Nashville


Oz Nashville always presents explosively original programming, so naturally it calls its Thursday night performance series TNT (Thursday Night Things). This week’s adventurous program features the Oz debut of New Dialect, Nashville’s new contemporary dance collective. New Dialect founder and dancer Banning Bouldin and her troupe will present a multi-media, multicultural program consisting of original […]

Nashville Ballet’s Martin Center set for a long overdue expansion


The Nashville Ballet’s headquarters is about to get a much needed makeover. On Thursday morning, the ballet announced the public launch of its capital campaign “Elevate,” which will help pay for a major expansion of the company’s Sylvan Heights neighborhood facility. “We have run out of space,” says artistic director Paul Vasterling. “Our dance classes […]

Alias’ Fifth Annual Arts & Flowers comes to W.O. Smith Music School


Nashville’s Alias Chamber Ensemble is like a world-premiere-generating machine. Since its founding a dozen years ago, this adventurous group has premiered nearly 20 new works. Three of them were presented during the ensemble’s excellent spring concert last May. The event that helps make all of Alias’ adventurousness and creativity possible is Arts & Flowers. The […]

Music Review: Philip Glass and Tim Fain at Oz Nashville


Composer Philip Glass received a standing ovation the moment he walked onstage at Oz Nashville on Friday. “Don’t stand now,” Glass protested playfully to the cheering crowd. “I haven’t done anything yet.” Glass is in town this weekend with the terrific violinist Tim Fain to present the final concert of Oz Nashville’s inaugural season. On […]

Music Review: Nashville Symphony Chorus marks its golden anniversary with a glorious Brahms requiem


Music director Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are celebrating the beauty of the human voice this weekend. Their program, which received a memorable performance on Thursday night at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, includes two masterpieces of the choral repertoire – Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (“A […]

Dance Preview: Nashville Ballet, Alias Chamber Ensemble and Portara Ensemble join forces for this week’s cutting-edge Emergence series


How does Nashville Ballet cap a season that included the world premiere of the Ben Folds Project? It goes all out, ending with a program that features three new dances set to the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec. Ballet artistic director Paul Vasterling puts a premium on collaboration, so his dancers will perform […]

Music Preview: NSO Chorus marks its 50th anniversary with Brahms Requiem


The Nashville Symphony Orchestra Chorus has been celebrating its 50th anniversary in high style this season. In October, the 200-plus choristers helped music director Giancarlo Guerrero usher in the season with a memorable performance of Vaughan Williams’ seldom heard (in these parts) A Sea Symphony. And earlier this month, the group and its newly minted […]

Music Review: From John Adams to John Williams, the Nashville Symphony plays it all


Music director Giancarlo Guerrero is leading the Nashville Symphony Orchestra this weekend in a concert that expertly balances the bold and new with the tried and true. The daring part of the program, performed Thursday night at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, consists of contemporary American composer John Adams’ City Noir, a wondrous and complex work […]

Music Review: Alias springs into action with three world premieres


Alias Chamber Ensemble is in the mood for love. Judging from its terrific spring concert on Wednesday night at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, the group is also in the groove.  Nashville’s adventurous chamber group premiered no fewer than three new works during its two-and-a-half hour performance at Turner Recital Hall. That’s likely a […]

Dance Review:  Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s season has a storybook ending, courtesy of ‘Hansel and Gretel’


Dance Theatre of Tennessee is ending its 2013-14 season with a double header. On Saturday at Father Ryan High School, the company presented the Middle Tennessee premiere of Alan Hineline’s Hansel and Gretel. The company also performed one of the great showpieces of the repertoire, Paquita Grand Pas Classique. This family-friendly show repeats Sunday, May […]

Dance Review: Nashville Ballet presents the world premiere of its Ben Folds Project


Ben Folds won’t be rocking the suburbs this weekend, since he’ll be too busy waltzing with the Nashville Ballet. The rocker-turned-classical-piano virtuoso will be at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Friday night to present the world premiere of his long-awaited “Ben Folds Project.” This remarkable collaborative venture features Folds performing his new Piano Concerto […]

Music Review: Nashville Symphony scores big in a program of Mozart masterpieces.


A suave and sophisticated British-born maestro is leading the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in its classical series concerts this weekend at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Christopher Seaman, the director emeritus of upstate New York’s Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, is conducting a program devoted entirely to Mozart masterpieces. Seaman is an outstanding interpreter of this music, and his […]

Music Review: Pianist Jeremy Denk and the Nashville Symphony perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1


Every season, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra brings some of the world’s most important guest artists to Music City. Jeremy Denk, the soloist in this weekend’s performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, is as distinguished as they come. A gifted writer as well as pianist, Denk recently received a contract from Random House to turn […]

Music Review: Violinist Christian Teal goes out on a high note with final recital at Blair


Violinist Christian Teal gave his final recital as a Blair School of Music professor on Sunday afternoon at Ingram Hall. For Nashville’s classical community, the event marked the end of an era. Teal has taught violin at Blair for 42 of the music school’s 50 years. As Dean Mark Wait commented during a post-concert reception, […]

Music Review: Huebl and Wait present Bolcom, Schubert and Franck


Violinist Carolyn Huebl received her doctorate from the University of Michigan, so it was probably just a matter of time before we heard her perform the music of that university’s famed professor emeritus William Bolcom. Huebl, an associate professor of violin at the Blair School of Music, was at Turner Hall on Saturday to perform […]