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.
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 Ghostbusters, Toy Story and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
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.”
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.
“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 works, highlights 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This eight-weekend series features big-name guest artists and dynamic themed programs, all accompanied by the orchestra:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
October 16-18, 2020
December 4-6, 2020
March 12-14, 2021
May 21-23, 2021
June 18-20, 2021
HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are ©️ & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights ©️ JKR. (s19)
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:
October 9, 2020
Wynton Marsalis brings his award-winning ensemble back to the Schermerhorn to celebrate the career of bebop pioneer Charlie Parker.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
All concerts listed below are with the Nashville Symphony, except where noted. More concerts will be announced in the coming months.
October 25, 2020 (presented without orchestra)
October 27, 2020
December 1-2, 2020
December 10-13, 2020
January 19, 2021 (presented without orchestra)
January 28-29, 2021
February 12 & 14, 2021
Season ticket packages are now available for all 2020-21 concerts and may be purchased at NashvilleSymphony.org, 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.