A casual conversation between Alan D. Valentine, president and CEO of the Nashville Symphony, and Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association, months ago during their participation Leadership Music has culminated in a historic collaboration between several top roots and Americana artists and the Nashville Symphony.
The unprecedented event billed as “Classical Americana” opens the 2009/10 concert season Sept. 12 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. “Classical Americana” features Alison Brown, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Byron House, Buddy Miller, Karen Parks and Abigail Washburn joining the orchestra conducted by Albert George-Schram in a program of gospel, blues and compositions from such greats as George Gershwin and Aaron Copland.
Hilly touts this as another key moment in Americana’s emergence as an important and influential genre.
“This concert will illustrate the amazing connection between roots and classical music that goes back generations,” Hilly said. “Some of the best-known classical composers, from Dvorak to Copland, have long used roots music as a foundation for composition.”
The concert program presents each musician doing a traditional version of a familiar work. Then the orchestra follows that performance with a well-known classical composition that utilizes that same original tune. The concert will be divided into segments, with each one introduced by a narrator.
The Americana roster for the concert includes several major performers, led by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter and producer Buddy Miller, the single biggest winner among all artists of Americana Awards. Alison Brown is one of the nation’s finest improvising banjo soloists and bandleaders and both a Grammy winner and recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Instrumental of the Year honor.
Sam Bush has played with a host of great figures in bluegrass, country, folk and even jazz circles, while Jerry Douglas is just as respected among Dobro players and appears on numerous sessions each year. Bassist Byron House is another highly regarded performer, while vocalist Abigail Washburn’s collaborations with Bela Fleck are critically lauded, and soprano Karen Parks’ recent release of operatic spirituals has been highly praised in both classical and gospel publications.
For more information on tickets call the Symphony Center Box Office at 687-6400 or online at NashvilleSymphony.org. Contact the Americana Music Association at americanamusic.org.