Nashville Symphony 2020-21 lineup includes Mozart Fest, recording projects and more

conductor and symphony standing on stage with instruments

Leslie Odom Jr., Police drummer Stewart Copeland, Jennifer Nettles and Ben Folds among guest artists slated to perform with orchestra.

The Nashville Symphony has announced its 2020-21 season, which features more than 100 classical, pops, jazz, and family concerts with the Grammy-winning orchestra, as well as appearances by top-flight guest artists, film favorites with live orchestra and more.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center front entrance

Nashville Symphony performs at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

The season kicks off on Sept. 10-12, 2020, with a powerful women’s suffrage-themed program, Her Story, which features the world premiere and live recording of a Nashville Symphony co-commission by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe. Also including works by Florence Price, Joan Tower and SiHyun Uhm – composers who span multiple generations – this event is part of a citywide commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

Curated and led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the Nashville Symphony’s Classical Series includes several themed programs throughout the year, including a Mozart festival, the continuing celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday and a two-week run of concerts featuring renowned Israeli violinist Pinchas Zukerman. The orchestra will continue its ongoing commitment to promoting and recording the work of contemporary American composers, including Augusta Read Thomas, Nashville’s own C.F. Kip Winger and three recent participants from the Nashville Symphony’s innovative Composer Lab & Workshop.

The FirstBank Pops Series includes appearances by Leslie Odom, Jr., Stewart Copeland of The Police and Ben Folds, all performing with the Nashville Symphony. The Jazz Series welcomes Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performing a tribute to saxophonist Charlie Parker in honor of his 100th birthday, plus a special trio appearance by Chick Corea. And following the successful debut of the Symphony’s Movie Series last season, season ticket packages will again be available for film screenings with the orchestra, with titles including the original GhostbustersToy Story and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Nashville Symphony musicians

Photo courtesy of the Nashville Symphony.

Other highlights of the forthcoming season include Too Hot to Handel, a gospel-styled interpretation of Handel’s Messiah; a screening of the 1984 Mozart bio-pic Amadeus with Giancarlo Guerrero and the orchestra performing the score live; a one-night appearance by Ballet Folklórico de México; and Honky-Tonk Mariachi, a mariachi-styled tribute to the legends of country music featuring Latina singer Stephanie Urbina Jones with the Nashville Symphony.

“As our community continues to grow and evolve, the Nashville Symphony has deepened its commitment to representing and serving the people of Middle Tennessee better than ever before,” says Alan D. Valentine, Symphony president and CEO. “This work will always be ongoing, but our newly announced season offers even more opportunities to explore ways that our orchestra can remain vital and relevant to the community. We look forward to sharing more exciting programming announcements in the year ahead.”


About Nashville Symphony’s Classical Series

The 2020-21 Classical Series consists of 14 concert weekends that showcase the orchestra performing classical favorites, unheralded gems from the repertoire and new works by today’s leading composers.

symphony performing on stage

The Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony.

“Our next season reflects the ways that the Nashville Symphony is actively seeking to showcase the diverse voices who are making meaningful contributions to our art form,” says music director Giancarlo Guerrero. “We are profoundly honored to perform the world premiere of Her Story by Julia Wolfe, a composer dedicated to exploring pivotal moments in American history and culture through music. I can’t think of a better concert to open our season — with a program celebrating women and composers of color — as we continue identifying new ways that we can contribute to shaping the future of classical music.”

In addition to Her Story and other contemporary workshighlights from the repertoire include a semi-staged production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Beethoven’s epic choral work Missa Solemnis, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique.” The Symphony will also continue its GRAMMY®-winning partnership with the Naxos label, with five recording projects in the 2020-21 season: Wolfe’s Her Story, the world premiere of C.F. Kip Winger’s Symphony No. 1, Wayne Oquin’s Resilience, Paul Hindemith’s Organ Concerto and Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez’s Cantata Criolla.

Guest artists in the 2020-21 Classical Series include violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman, who will both lead and solo over the course of two concert weekends; organist Paul Jacobs; pianists Joyce Yang and Kirill Gerstein; and violinist Augustin Hadelich. Guerrero will also continue spotlighting Nashville Symphony orchestra musicians by giving soloist roles to concertmaster Jun Iwasaki and cellist Kevin Bate.

See a full listing of the Nashville Symphony’s 2020-21 lineup.


Classical Series

Her Story – Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration

September 10-12, 2020

Works by Joan Tower, Florence Price and Nashville Symphony Composer Lab fellow SiHyun Uhm accompany Wolfe’s Her Story, which will feature vocal ensemble Lorelei.

Classical Rock Stars

October 2-4, 2020

Nashville’s own C.F. Kip Winger – known for his work in the rock band Winger – premieres his First Symphony, which was commissioned by the Nashville Symphony. Also on the program: Beethoven’s groundbreaking First Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, featuring Augustin Hadelich.

Epic Beethoven & Strauss

October 22-24, 2020

This expansive program includes Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Richard Strauss’ A Hero’s Life and Augusta Read Thomas’ EOS (Goddess of Dawn), which is inspired by Greek mythology.

Gorgeous Grieg & Stunning Stravinsky

November 13-14, 2020

Cornerstones of the repertoire abound in this program, with Haydn’s “Military” Symphony No. 100, Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and Grieg’s beloved Piano Concerto, featuring up-and-coming soloist George Li.

Beethoven’s Choral Masterpiece

November 20-21, 2020

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is a powerful spiritual testament that frequently gets overshadowed by his better-known works. The Nashville Symphony Chorus will tackle the fiendishly challenging vocal parts in what is often called “the greatest piece never heard.”

Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique

January 7-9, 2021

Tchaikovsky’s dark and brooding Sixth Symphony mirrors the composer’s own personal torment, while Brahms’ Double Concerto will feature Nashville Symphony concertmaster Jun Iwasaki and principal cellist Kevin Bate.

Delightful Dvořák

January 22-23, 2021

America’s leading organist, Paul Jacobs returns for live recordings of Hindemith’s Organ Concerto and Wayne Oquin’s Resilience before the orchestra performs Dvořák’s genial Symphony No. 8.

Mozart Fest: Greatest Hits

February 18-20, 2021

Mozart’s genius will be on display during this showcase of his most treasured works, including the Overture to Don Giovanni, Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter” and Piano Concerto No. 21, featuring renowned Mozart soloist and scholar Robert Levin.

Mozart Fest: The Marriage of Figaro

February 26 & 28, 2021

The celebration of Mozart continues with one of the greatest operas ever written in a semi-staged version that will include costumes and set-pieces.

Pinchas Zukerman Plays & Conducts

April 1-3, 2021

Following sold-out performances in 2018, two-time GRAMMY® winner Pinchas Zukerman returns to Music City to conduct and perform as soloist.

Pinchas Zukerman Returns

April 9-11, 2021

With Guerrero at the podium, Zukerman returns with his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth. The couple will perform together on Avner Dorman’s Double Concerto, which was written specifically for them. Also on the program are Tangazo, a tone poem by tango innovator Astor Piazzolla, and Bartók’s landmark Concerto for Orchestra.

Keyboard Spectacular

April 29 – May 1, 2021

Pianist Joyce Yang returns as the featured soloist on Chopin’s melodic and dazzling Second Piano Concerto before the orchestra performs Saint-Saëns’ massive “Organ” Symphony No. 3.


May 14-16, 2021

This program with international flair opens with the live recording of Estévez’s Cantata Criolla, featuring the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and closes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, which recounts the classic tale through the composer’s vividly colorful orchestration.

Titanic Tchaikovsky & Mahler

May 27-29, 2021

Tchaikovsky’s infrequently performed Second Piano Concerto is a virtuosic showcase for soloist Kirill Gerstein, and Mahler’s “Titan” Symphony is the first of his paradigm-shifting orchestral works, which seek to capture the full breadth of the human experience in music.


FirstBank Pops Series

This eight-weekend series features big-name guest artists and dynamic themed programs, all accompanied by the orchestra:

Leslie Odom, Jr. with the Nashville Symphony

September 17-19, 2020

The GRAMMY and Tony-Award winning star of Hamilton makes his Schermerhorn debut with an evening of jazz, standards and Broadway favorites.

Stewart Copeland: Police Deranged

October 29-31, 2020

It’s a high-energy orchestral celebration of The Police’s biggest hits, including “Roxanne,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “Message in a Bottle” and many more, with Copeland on drums, three singers and a guitarist joining the orchestra.

Music City Christmas

December 17-19, 2020

Principal Pops Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez hosts this one-of-a-kind holiday symphonic spectacular featuring dancers, Broadway singers and some very special guests, including Jolly Old Saint Nick himself.

Country’s Leading Ladies

January 14-16, 2021

The Nashville Symphony celebrates the music and life stories of some of Music City’s greatest singers and songwriters, adding heart and soul to classics by Emmylou Harris, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, the Dixie Chicks, Kacey Musgraves, Shania Twain, Dolly Parton and others.

Pops Spectacular: Orchestral Greatest Hits

February 4-7, 2021

This powerhouse program features Guerrero leading the Nashville Symphony in a selection of orchestral favorites, including Ravel’s Boléro, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Strauss’ The Blue Danube and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.

Beatles Revolution

March 18-20, 2021

The Beatles come to life in this new authorized symphonic tribute featuring orchestral arrangements of more than 25 Fab Four hits, accompanied by stunning video, animation and hundreds of rare and unseen photos.

An Evening with the Rat Pack

April 15-17, 2021

A talented crew of crooners joins the orchestra to take a trip back to the Las Vegas heyday of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.

Ben Folds

May 6-8, 2021

It’s the long-awaited return of one of Music City’s most beloved artists, as Ben Folds showcases his impeccable musicianship and unparalleled knack for pop songcraft alongside the Nashville Symphony. 


Movies Series

Movie lovers can experience their favorite films as never before, with the Nashville Symphony providing live accompaniment to beloved movies screened in HD above the stage:

Ghostbusters in Concert

October 16-18, 2020

Home Alone in Concert

December 4-6, 2020

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in Concert

March 12-14, 2021

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™: Part 1 in Concert

May 21-23, 2021

Toy Story in Concert

June 18-20, 2021 

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are ©️ & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights ©️ JKR. (s19)


Jazz Series

The Nashville Symphony is honored to be one of Music City’s leading presenters of jazz, and this series offers the chance to hear world-class artists in a sparkling acoustical setting:

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Charlie Parker Centennial

October 9, 2020

Wynton Marsalis brings his award-winning ensemble back to the Schermerhorn to celebrate the career of bebop pioneer Charlie Parker.

Prohibition with the Nashville Symphony

November 6, 2020

This concert celebrates the Roaring ’20s with singers, dancers, vintage photos and video, all accompanied by the orchestra. Classics include “Mack the Knife,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and more.

Chick Corea: Vigilette with Carlitos Del Puerto and Marcus Gilmore

April 13, 2021

One of the innovators of jazz fusion returns to the Schermerhorn in a piano trio setting for an evening of new standards, tunes from his piano heroes and classic Corea compositions.


The Ann & Monroe Carell Family Trust Family Series

Created for children ages 10 and under, Family Series concerts offer a relaxed, sensory-friendly atmosphere for all patrons. Each themed concert is preceded by family-friendly activities, including the Symphony’s Instrument Petting Zoo.

Dr. FREAKuency’s Major Monster Bash

October 31, 2020

This spooktacular Halloween bash features Night on Bald Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, In the Hall of the Mountain King and more.

The Snowman & Holiday Favorites

December 5, 2020

The orchestra accompanies a screening of the 1982 film The Snowman, based on Raymond Briggs’ heartwarming book, and performs some holiday favorites.

The Beatles’ Guide to the Orchestra

March 20, 2021

In this magical musical tour through the orchestra, join aspiring young musician “Rico Starr” on his quest to form a band, all accompanied by the timeless melodies of The Beatles.

Carnival of the Animals

April 17, 2021

Take an imaginative journey through the animal kingdom in this zoological musical, featuring a fully orchestrated setting of Saint-Saëns’ classic score, along with engaging songs like “Talk to the Animals” and “Kokowanda Bay.”


Additional Concerts

All concerts listed below are with the Nashville Symphony, except where noted. More concerts will be announced in the coming months. 

Not Our First Goat Rodeo: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, with guest Aoife O’Donovan

October 25, 2020 (presented without orchestra)

Honky-Tonk Mariachi: Stephanie Urbina Jones

October 27, 2020

Jennifer Nettles with the Nashville Symphony: Broadway Under the Mistletoe

December 1-2, 2020

Too Hot to Handel: A Gospel Messiah

December 10-13, 2020

Ballet Folklórico de México

January 19, 2021 (presented without orchestra)

Mozart Fest: Amadeus in Concert

January 28-29, 2021

Valentine’s with Kenny G

February 12 & 14, 2021


Season ticket packages are now available for all 2020-21 concerts and may be purchased at, by phone at 615-687-6400, or in person at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office. Season ticket holders enjoy a long list of benefits, including priority seating, bonus tickets, free unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking and much more.

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