Monday, September 10, 2007

Giancarlo Guerrero takes top spot at Nashville Symphony

Famed conductor has Central and South American roots

Nicaraguan-born and Costa Rican-raised Giancarlo Guerrero will become the Music Director of the Nashville Symphony starting in 2009, according to this press release:
Nashville Symphony President and CEO Alan D. Valentine announced today that Giancarlo Guerrero will become Music Director of the Nashville Symphony beginning with the 2009/100 season. A native of Costa Rica and current Music Director of the Eugene Symphony, the 38-year-old conductor was unanimously selected to be the Symphony's 8th Music Director by a 12-member search committee, half of whom were musicians from the orchestra. Leonard Slatkin, who has served as Music Advisor of the Nashville Symphony since 2006, will conclude his tenure at the end of 2008/09.

Mr. Guerrero has developed a relationship with the Nashville Symphony through four subscription engagements over the past two years and was the first guest conductor to lead the Symphony following the death of its last Music Director, Kenneth Schermerhorn, in 2005. He is currently in his sixth season as Music Director of Oregon's Eugene Symphony and will continue in that post through the 2008/09 season. Under the terms of an initial 5 year contract extending through 2012/13, Mr. Guerrero will conduct 10 weeks of concerts with the Nashville Symphony in 2008/09 as Music Director Designate and 14 weeks as Music Director beginning in 2009/10.

"We are all truly excited about Giancarlo's appointment," commented Alan D. Valentine. "From his first concert with the Nashville Symphony in the week following Kenneth Schermerhorn's death, the chemistry between Giancarlo, the musicians and the audience was apparent. Each return engagement since then has strengthened our relationship and reconfirmed what we already knew – that Giancarlo is the right conductor to take our orchestra to the next level. I speak on behalf of the musicians, staff and board in welcoming Giancarlo and his family to Nashville and to the Nashville Symphony."

"It is a great honor to become the next Music Director of the Nashville Symphony," remarked Giancarlo Guerrero. "I look forward to wonderful music-making with the musicians of the orchestra in their terrific new hall and to continuing the orchestra's rich and long recording tradition. This is an exciting time in the orchestra's history and it is my privilege to accept the responsibility of leading this orchestra to new artistic heights. I am thrilled about working with President Alan Valentine, the orchestra's staff, board members, and the musicians of the Nashville Symphony, and my family and I are looking forward to becoming a part of the Nashville community."

"The appointment of Giancarlo Guerrero ensures the continued growth of the Nashville Symphony," said Nashville Symphony Music Advisor Leonard Slatkin. "His dynamic leadership with the Symphony over the past several seasons made him the clear choice for this position. I know that he will add vitality and excitement to the community, as well as be a perfect fit for the orchestra."

Giancarlo Guerrero will lead the Nashville Symphony as its first Music Director since the opening of its new home, the $123.5 million, 1,844-seat Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened on September 9, 2006 to critical acclaim. Both Mr. Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony are champions of American music, which the Symphony has highlighted through its American Encores initiative – featuring "encore" performances of works by living American composers and American masters that have been performed rarely or only once previously (at its premiere) - and through its award-winning recordings on Naxos' American Classics series. Mr. Guerrero initiated a guest-composer series in Eugene, where under his leadership the ensemble has hosted several of America's most respected composers, including John Adams, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Jay Kernis and Michael Daugherty.

Hailed for his precise yet sensitive performances, Mr. Guerrero has guest-conducted many major American orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He served as Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1999-2004 and made his Minnesota Orchestra subscription debut in March 2000 leading the world premiere of John Corigliano's Phantasmagoria on the Ghosts of Versailles. Mr. Guerrero recently made his European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and his UK Debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

During the 2007/08 season Mr. Guerrero will conduct the Nashville Symphony's first classical series concerts on September 13-15, as well as Verdi's Requiem on May 8-10, 2008. In addition to his performances in Nashville and Eugene, Mr. Guerrero's conducting engagements this season include his return appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra both in Cleveland and on tour including the orchestra's residency in Miami. He also leads the Australian premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's chamber opera Ainadamar at the Adelaide Festival. Additional engagements include appearances with the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee, San Diego, among others, and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela.

In June 2004, Mr. Guerrero was awarded the Helen M. Thompson Award by the American Symphony Orchestra League, which recognizes outstanding achievement among young conductors nationwide. Born in Nicaragua and raised in Costa Rica, Mr. Guerrero began his musical training in Costa Rica as a member of the Costa Rica Youth Symphony. He received his bachelor's degree from Baylor University in Texas and his master's degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Illinois. Mr. Guerrero's principal conducting teachers were Michael Haithcock, Stephen Heyde, Victor Yampolsky and Guillermo Scarabino. Prior to his tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra, he served as Music Director of the Tachira Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela. Mr. Guerrero plans to reside in Nashville with his wife Shirley and daughters Virginia and Claudia.

Recognized as one of the nation's fastest growing orchestras, the 84-member Nashville Symphony gives more than 200 performances annually and is rapidly developing an international reputation for unique programming and high musical standards. The Symphony's award-winning recordings and focus on new American music, coupled with the high-profile opening of Schermerhorn Symphony Center, have thrust the Symphony into the national spotlight. The Nashville Symphony has 11 recordings on Naxos and one on Decca, making it currently one of the most active recording symphony orchestras in the country. The recordings have received four Grammy nominations, including one for "Best Classical Album" in 2004 for the works of Elliott Carter. In the 2007/08 season, the Symphony's American Encores series will include performances of seldom-heard works by Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Michael Torke, Robert Sierra, Paul Creston, Claude Baker, Paul Hindemith, Erich Korngold, Kurt Weill and Aaron Copland, among others.

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