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Music Review: Violinist Simone Porter and the NSO play Paganini with a vengeance

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Midway through violinist Simone Porter’s rendition of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra on Friday night, a jazz concert threatened to break out. No, Porter didn’t give a spontaneous performance of improvised music. Rather, her fiery, impassioned account of Paganini’s fiendishly difficult score prompted one concertgoer to forget his classical decorum, […]

Lost and Found: Nashville Symphony performs the music of American composer Tobias Picker this weekend

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At the end of every one of his piano recitals, the late-great composer-pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff always had to play the same encore, his Prelude in C-sharp minor. Never mind that Rachmaninoff composed that little prelude when he was just 19, and never mind that over the course of his long career, he composed many superior […]

Composer Stephen Paulus was known for his many operas, choral and orchestra works

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The classical music world has lost one of its most lyrically inspired composers. Stephen Paulus, best known for his 1982 opera The Postman Always Rings Twice, died Sunday, Oct. 19 at an assisted living facility in Minnesota following complications from a stroke. He was 65. A remarkably prolific composer, Paulus wrote more than 450 works, […]

Music Review: With bases loaded and a foul ball or two, Blakemore Trio finally hits a home run

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The mark of a great pitcher is not the ability to blow opponents away when everything is working perfectly. The majors are overstuffed with guys who can do just that. The thing that truly separates the best from the rest is the capability to dominate a game on a day when their stuff just isn’t […]

Music Review: At Ingram Hall, Blair String Quartet debuts a new first violinist

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The Blair String Quartet changes personnel about as frequently as the Vatican does, so there was considerable interest in the ensemble’s concert Saturday night at Ingram Hall. Stephen Miahky was making his official debut as the group’s new first violinist. Nashville’s die-hard classical fans were in attendance, and they were eager to hear how this […]

Music Review: NSO and pianist Olga Kern offer up some ravishing Rachmaninoff

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Why on earth would Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra devote their entire concert this weekend at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center to the music of that arch-Romantic Sergei Rachmaninoff? Because of that drop-dead gorgeous slow movement in the composer’s Second Symphony, that’s why. And while they were at it on Friday night, Guerrero and […]

Violinist Stephen Miahky makes his debut with the Blair String Quartet

Photograph (C) Beowulf Sheehan

Classical musicians seldom get to feel like rock stars. But violinist Stephen Miahky got that chance while still a doctoral student at Rutgers University. The Dalai Lama was touring the U.S., and Miahky and another doctoral student were invited to perform for him. It became Miahky’s U2 moment, since he performed in a football stadium. “I […]

Music Review: At NSO concert, Yo-Yo Ma shines in the music of Edward Elgar and Matt Walker

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The cellist Yo-Yo Ma is one of only two or three classical musicians whose name still elicits a glimmer of recognition from the general public. Not surprisingly, regional orchestras everywhere want to book him. Ma’s fame was readily apparent at his Nashville Symphony Orchestra concert on Wednesday night at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He was […]

Music Review: Meyer and Thile cut up the stage at Ingram Hall

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The hilarious comedy team of Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile brought the house down with their zany antics on Tuesday night at Ingram Hall. Along the way, the duo also performed double bass and mandolin with breathtaking virtuosity, extemporized brilliantly, and even found a kind of folksy sublimity in the music of J.S. Bach. Meyer, […]

Music Review: Choir of Clare College performs at Vanderbilt University

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Clare College’s youthful choristers were among kindred spirits during their performance at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music last week. The choirs from both institutions consist entirely of undergraduates. During the performance at Vanderbilt’s Ingram Hall, one could see Blair’s singers cheering enthusiastically for their counterparts from across the pond. The Choir of Clare College, […]

Breaking News: Atlanta Symphony President Stanley Romanstein resigns; interim director appointed

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Stanley Romanstein has resigned as president and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, effective immediately, the latest casualty of the acrimonious relationship between the orchestra musicians and its management, which led to a lockout now more than three weeks long. “I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our […]

Music Review: Locked-out Atlanta Symphony musicians take to the stage at Kennesaw State

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Locked-out musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, under the moniker “ATL Symphony Musicians,” performed a pair of back-to-back free concerts of music by Beethoven and Dvořák in the Bailey Performance Center’s 620-seat Morgan Hall at Kennesaw State University Friday night. The musicians engaged Michael Palmer to conduct, just as they had for two performances during […]

Music Review: An emotional recital from trombonist Jeremy Wilson

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Trombonist Jeremy Wilson almost canceled the terrific recital he presented Sunday night at the Blair School of Music’s Turner Hall. Wilson’s longtime friend and mentor, University of North Texas trombone professor Vern Kagarice, died two weeks ago after a long illness. A celebratory service for the revered trombonist was scheduled for the same day as Wilson’s […]

Nashville composer Daniel Elder shines in the American Prize

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Composer Daniel Elder won second place nationally in The American Prize competition, 2014, in the professional choral division, for his work entitled “Three Themes of Life and Love.” Elder was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the United States. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions unique in scope and […]

Bad to the Bone: Trombonist Jeremy Wilson will perform at Blair

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As a young graduate student at the University of North Texas, trombonist Jeremy Wilson figured he’d probably become a jazz musician. North Texas, after all, has one of the country’s finest jazz programs. But then one day he got a call from Ian Boussield, principal trombonist of the mighty Vienna Philharmonic. “He had heard an audition […]

Nashville Symphony’s Free Day of Music is Saturday

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The Nashville Symphony will welcome more than 20 performers representing a variety of musical genres for its ninth annual Free Day of Music on Saturday, Sept. 27. The full day of music begins at 10:15 a.m. with the 101st Airborne Division Band and will include performances on four different stages throughout Schermerhorn Symphony Center, treating […]

Music Review: Cliburn winner Vadym Kholodenko wows the crowd at Belmont University

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Belmont University’s School of Music has forged a fruitful relationship with the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In recent years, the school has invited finalists from the prestigious Texas-based contest to headline its annual Woods Piano Concert Series. Vadym Kholodenko, the 2013 Cliburn gold medalist, was onstage Thursday night at McAfee Concert Hall. As a personality, […]

Cellist Deidre Emerson will perform at the opening of the Frist Center’s Kandinsky exhibit

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Can abstract instrumental music actually be painted? Wasilly Kandinsky, the celebrated Russian artist, was sure of it. In 1911, he attended a concert in Munich featuring some of the newly minted atonal music of Arnold Schoenberg. To Kandinsky, the father of modern abstract painting, Schoenberg’s thorny, dissonant works came across as heartfelt songs without words. […]

Nashville’s Steinway Piano Gallery marks 85 years in business

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Pop Schuttler didn’t pick the best year to start a business in the United States. In 1929, as the stock market crashed and the country begin its long descent into the Great Depression, Schuttler left his job at a piano dealership to start his own music business in Indiana. Thanks to hard work and perseverance, […]

Nashville Symphony reaches agreement with its musicians

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The musicians of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra have a new contract. On Monday, the NSO announced that it had reached a new, four-year agreement with its musicians that offers three-percent raises during each of the first two years. During the third and fourth years, the NSO will reopen salary negotiations. “We are thrilled that we […]