Following Three 2017 GRAMMY Awards for Michael Daugherty album, the Nashville Symphony and Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero will Release Jennifer Higdon’s All Things Majestic
Soloists Roberto Díaz and James Button perform Higdon’s Viola and Oboe Concertos
Out March 10 on Naxos American Classics
Nashville Symphony will also record three new albums this spring of works by Terry Riley, John Harbison, Brad Warnaar and Behzad Ranjbaran
Nashville, TN/New York, NY – February 14, 2017 – Continuing its commitment to championing the most important voices in contemporary American classical music, the Nashville Symphony will release a recording of Jennifer Higdon’s four-movement suite All Things Majestic along with the composer’s Viola and Oboe Concertos on March 10 on Naxos. The Nashville Symphony’s third release within the last six months, the Higdon album comes on the heels of this weekend’s three GRAMMY® Award wins for their 2016 release of Michael Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway, American Gothic & Once Upon a Castle.
Winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto and a GRAMMY® Award in 2010 for her Percussion Concerto, Jennifer Higdon is one of the most distinguished composers working in America today. The title work on All Things Majestic vividly captures the breathtaking beauty of the American landscape, and the release also includes wonderfully expressive concertos for viola and oboe, bringing out the unique textures and sonorities of these frequently overlooked solo instruments.
“I always feel like I’m coming home when I come to Nashville,” Jennifer Higdon says of her collaboration with the Nashville Symphony. “I love working with this orchestra. To me this is the orchestra that is doing what it should be doing. It’s an American orchestra in an American City so they should be doing American music, and let me tell you, they do it very well.”
“I have been championing Jennifer Higdon’s music since my days as Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra (1999-2004), when I had the privilege of conducting a world premiere of a short piece of hers,” says Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. “Since then, she has become one of the most performed living American composers, and I wanted to showcase her music in one of the Nashville Symphony’s recording projects. I am fortunate to work with one of the best orchestras in the world in Nashville. All Things Majestic showcases their incredible versatility. This album was also a perfect opportunity to showcase one of our amazing musicians, Principal Oboe James Button, while also recording Jennifer’s Viola Concerto, a commissioning project we helped bring to life with the incomparable Roberto Díaz."
About the Recording: All Things Majestic originated in 2011 as a commission from Grand Teton Music Festival to write a major orchestral work commemorating the 50th anniversary of the festival. It also represents a musical response to Higdon’s deep love of nature. The composer refers to herself as an “avid fan of the National Park system,” she says. “All Things Majestic is a tribute to the festival, the musicians, and its home, the Tetons, and to the majesty of all of our parks.”
Higdon’s Viola Concerto was written for Violist Roberto Díaz - who performs it here - and was commissioned by The Library of Congress, in honor of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Library’s concert series. In preparing for this composition, Higdon says, “I noticed that pieces for the viola were all very dark and kind of heavy. So I decided to make a piece that is more celebratory and has a real swing to it. Each movement has an American rhythmic drive, with almost jazz-like rhythms that are tricky for the orchestra. They fit together like a little puzzle, where everything is tightly woven. But you also want to think about the gorgeousness of the instrument. The viola sounds great playing long lines.”
The prospect of tailoring a concerto to a particular artist’s personality made for a creatively stimulating endeavor for Higdon when she was commissioned by the Minnesota Commissioning Club to write her Oboe Concerto, inspired by the playing of Kathy Greenbank, principal oboe of The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. “The music is written so that it should speak to the audience, without them having to have an explanation,” the composer observes. “This Oboe Concerto gives the instrument a chance to highlight its extraordinary lyrical gift.”
Three Live Recordings this Spring
The Nashville Symphony, together with Naxos, continue their active schedule of recording living American music with three live recordings set for this spring. On February 23-25, the Symphony performs and records Terry Riley’s At the Royal Majesticwith organist Todd Wilson.Brad Warnaar’s Horn Concertofeaturing Nashville Symphony principal horn player Leslie Norton and Behzad Ranjbaran’s Flute Concertowith principal flute Érik Gratton will be recorded on April 14-15. Finally, on May 12-13,the Nashville Symphony Chorus joins the Symphony for performances and the recording of John Harbison’s epicRequiem. Written right after 9/11, the work was commissioned by the Boston Symphony for the centennial of Symphony Hall, and has been rarely performed since then.
About Nashville Symphony
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America’s leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released 27 recordings on Naxos, which have received 20 GRAMMY® nominations and eleven GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. With more than 170 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children’s concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reach up to 80,000 children and adults each year.
About Giancarlo Guerrero
Giancarlo Guerrero is the eight-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Music Director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2009 and has committed to serving through the 2024-25 season. A passionate proponent of new music, Guerrero has championed the works of several of America's most respected composers. He has presented eight world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including Béla Fleck’s The Impostor banjo concerto, Terry Riley’s Palmian Chord Ryddle electric violin concerto, and the 2016 performance and recent GRAMMY®-winning recording of Michael Daugherty’s cello concerto Tales of Hemingway. Maestro Guerrero has appeared with many of the prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., among others. For more information, visit www.giancarlo-guerrero.com.