• It takes not one or two, but five conductors to pull off Charles Ives' gargantuan  Universe Symphony, the opening work on the Nashville Symphony's Spring For Music concert at Carnegie Hall.
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    It takes not one or two, but five conductors to pull off Charles Ives' gargantuan Universe Symphony, the opening work on the Nashville Symphony's Spring For Music concert at Carnegie Hall.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Nashville natives show hometown pride, waving their green handkerchiefs. Over 500 fans traveled from Nashville to hear the hometown band.
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    Nashville natives show hometown pride, waving their green handkerchiefs. Over 500 fans traveled from Nashville to hear the hometown band.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Charles Ives was thinking big when he started composing his Universe Symphony in 1911. It was his most ambitious work, attempting to portray in music the past, present and future of the universe. He died before he completed it.
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    Charles Ives was thinking big when he started composing his Universe Symphony in 1911. It was his most ambitious work, attempting to portray in music the past, present and future of the universe. He died before he completed it.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Like the other four conductors in Ives' massive symphony, music director Giancarlo Guerrero wears earbuds to hear the click track needed to keep all the musicians playing together.
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    Like the other four conductors in Ives' massive symphony, music director Giancarlo Guerrero wears earbuds to hear the click track needed to keep all the musicians playing together.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • It took another composer, Larry Austin, three decades to complete a version of Ives' unfinished symphony, which calls for a gigantic brass section.
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    It took another composer, Larry Austin, three decades to complete a version of Ives' unfinished symphony, which calls for a gigantic brass section.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Carnegie Hall, which opened in 1891, is the venue for the annual Spring For Music concerts, which feature American orchestras in programs of adventurous repertoire.
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    Carnegie Hall, which opened in 1891, is the venue for the annual Spring For Music concerts, which feature American orchestras in programs of adventurous repertoire.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • The Nashville Symphony on stage at Carnegie Hall. Nashville is associated with country music. But the 66-year-old Nashville Symphony has a strong following.
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    The Nashville Symphony on stage at Carnegie Hall. Nashville is associated with country music. But the 66-year-old Nashville Symphony has a strong following.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • The concert also featured the New York premiere of Terry Riley's The Palmian Chord Ryddle for Electric Violin and Orchestra, a piece he wrote for the soloist, Tracy Silverman. Silverman designed his own six-string instrument that reaches down into the cello range.
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    The concert also featured the New York premiere of Terry Riley's The Palmian Chord Ryddle for Electric Violin and Orchestra, a piece he wrote for the soloist, Tracy Silverman. Silverman designed his own six-string instrument that reaches down into the cello range.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Tracy Silverman shakes hands with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Silverman says Riley's concerto is "a mashup of raga and ragtime."
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    Tracy Silverman shakes hands with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Silverman says Riley's concerto is "a mashup of raga and ragtime."
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Terry Riley (center), one of the founders of minimalism, now often writes music lush with melody, drawing on a variety of American and world music influences.
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    Terry Riley (center), one of the founders of minimalism, now often writes music lush with melody, drawing on a variety of American and world music influences.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Terry Riley accepting enthusiastic applause. He said that his concerto "leaped into my consciousness as a very spontaneous work, full of the things in music that I find colorful, dynamic, beautiful, challenging, humorous, loving, friendly, joyous, stark and universally minded."
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    Terry Riley accepting enthusiastic applause. He said that his concerto "leaped into my consciousness as a very spontaneous work, full of the things in music that I find colorful, dynamic, beautiful, challenging, humorous, loving, friendly, joyous, stark and universally minded."
    Melanie Burford/NPR

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Classics in Concert

Nashville Symphony Goes Electric, EclecticWQXR

PROGRAM
  • Ives: Universe Symphony (real. Austin)
  • Riley: The Palmian Chord Ryddle
  • Grainger: The Warriors

In the past decade or so, the Nashville Symphony's international profile has zoomed upwards, first with the late conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn, then with Leonard Slatkin and, since 2008, music director Giancarlo Guerrero. During this period, they've won seven Grammy Awards for a series of albums featuring exciting new repertoire, including Joan Tower's Made in America, Joseph Schwantner's Concerto for Percussion and Michael Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony.

That sense of adventure was rewarded with an invitation to the Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall, where the Nashville players will present the New York premiere of Terry Riley's The Palmian Chord Ryddle, a concerto for electric violin and orchestra commissioned by the Nashville Symphony. The soloist is Nashville resident and former Turtle Island String Quartet member Tracy Silverman, for whom Riley wrote this work.

The program also includes the New York premiere of Charles Ives' super-ambitious and unfinished Universe Symphony, for which the composer left only sketches; this version was realized by composer Larry Austin and features no fewer than 20 percussionists. The program is rounded out with Percy Grainger's fantastical and engagingly strange "imaginary ballet" The Warriors, which he began writing in 1913. It's a fitting complement to both the Ives and the Riley. Grainger anticipates Ives by demanding three conductors (here, Kelly Corcoran and Christopher Norton to assist Guerrero) as well as an onstage battery of "tuneful percussion," an offstage brass sextet and at least three pianos.

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