The Nashville Symphony celebrates the return to its acoustically rich concert hall after last spring's devastating flood. Harry Butler hide caption

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Harry Butler

The Nashville Symphony celebrates the return to its acoustically rich concert hall after last spring's devastating flood.

Harry Butler

Classics in Concert

The Nashville Symphony In ConcertAmerican Public Media

The Nashville Symphony In Concert

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During the first two days of May 2010, nearly 14 inches of rain fell in Nashville — more than doubling the two-day record set when a hurricane swept through 30 years earlier. The Cumberland River crested 12 feet above flood stage and the city was inundated with thick, muddy water. Thirty-one people lost their lives. Damages totaled at least $1.5 billion.

Every person, every structure, every corner of Nashville was affected. In Nashville's lively music scene, the Grand Ole Opry House was under 10 feet of water. The Country Music Hall of Fame took on five feet. And Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a magnificent $123-million hall that opened in 2006 as home to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, took on 5 million gallons, 24 feet deep.

On the night of the floods, members of the symphony who could get to the Schermerhorn stacked sandbags, with help from community volunteers. Despite their efforts, water cascaded into the sub-basement and most of the basement. Two 9-foot Steinway grand pianos were destroyed. Fifty other instruments were wiped out. It appeared the water would fill the main hall, but the deluge stopped rising — with five inches to spare.

Schermerhorn and Nashville Symphony staff quickly assessed the damage: $42 million of work before the symphony could return. Having recently raised a tremendous amount of money to build the hall, was there any chance of raising the repair money in a down economy?

Eight months later, not only has the money been raised, the repairs are complete. The Nashville Symphony played their first concert back home on New Year's Eve. Our live broadcast this Thursday, Jan. 6 will highlight the return of a great American orchestra, and celebrate the resilience and spirit of a great American city.

Nicholas McGegan conducts the Nashville Symphony at the newly restored Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Mendelssohn's Overture to The Fair Melusina, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 and Beethoven's Fourth Symphony. I'll provide live commentary, interview members of the orchestra, and during this evening of great music, we won't take a single note for granted.

Program

Nicholas McGegan, conductor

  • Mendelssohn: Overture to Fair Melusine
  • Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 with Robert Levin, piano
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 4
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