I was in Cleveland last weekend visiting my family. I ran into a few of my old high school friends there, one of whom mentioned she had just seen Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero guest-conduct the acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra. She was blown away by Guerrero, and clearly surprised that Nashville Symphony had such a formidable force at its helm. And it struck me just how different things are for the NSO than when I first moved to Nashville 15 years ago.
So it should be very heartening news for local classical music fans that the Nashville Symphony just announced it has extended Guerrero's contract through 2020. (Wow, typing that year for something other than a sci-fi novel feels bizarre.) It's a no-brainer from the NSO's standpoint, but Guerrero's commitment speaks volumes about the orchestra's caliber and standing.
Here's the press release:
Nashville Symphony Board Chairman Ed Goodrich announced today that the Nashville Symphony Association Board of Directors and Giancarlo Guerrero have reached an agreement extending Maestro Guerrero's contract through 2020. Guerrero will continue to lead the Nashville Symphony for at least the next eight years.
We are very pleased that Giancarlo has made this long-term commitment to the Symphony," says Goodrich. "His vision, imagination and consistently high level of musicianship continue to bring positive attention to this organization. He has a strong following, not just in Nashville, but across the U.S. and around the globe. His enthusiasm for new music and his gift for breathing fresh energy into time-honored classics have helped to define a distinctive Nashville Symphony sound while generating noticeable excitement in the community."
Goodrich continues, “This announcement demonstrates our commitment to the continued growth and sustainment of the Nashville Symphony and to bringing accessible world-class music to Middle Tennessee and beyond for many years to come.”
Last year, Guerrero led the Nashville Symphony to a GRAMMY® win for a second consecutive year with the recording of Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. His previous recording with the orchestra of Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony won three 2011 GRAMMY® Awards. A fervent advocate of new music, he has collaborated with America’s most respected composers, including John Adams, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon and Richard Danielpour.
“From his first concert with the Nashville Symphony, the chemistry between Giancarlo, the musicians and the audience was apparent,” says Nashville Symphony President and CEO Alan D. Valentine. “Each performance since then has strengthened that relationship. Extending his contract reconfirms the decision that Giancarlo was the right conductor to take our orchestra to the next level. We welcomed Giancarlo and his family to Nashville in 2009, and I am thrilled that our relationship will continue to strengthen and grow into the next decade.”
In addition to his role as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, Guerrero serves as Principal Guest Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency. This season he will also make guest-conducting debuts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Norwegian Radio Orchestra. He will return to conduct the Boston, Indianapolis, Toronto and Philadelphia orchestras; Brussels Philharmonic; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. He will also travel to Australia and New Zealand for performances with the Adelaide Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia.
An advocate for young musicians and music education, Guerrero now returns annually to Caracas, Venezuela, to conduct the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar and to work with young musicians in the country’s lauded El Sistema music program. This season he will also work with the student orchestras of Curtis Institute and the Colburn School.
“It is my privilege to be associated with this dynamic organization,” Guerrero says. “Each day brings unique opportunities for the orchestra to reach new artistic heights. We are proud of our role as cultural ambassadors for the city of Nashville, and we take that responsibility very seriously, as we seek to foster a love of music and the arts for everyone in our community. I look forward to staying in Nashville — it is truly home for me and my family, and I have so many goals and dreams for the orchestra. I look forward to deepening the ties between the orchestra and the people of Nashville for many years to come.”