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Giancarlo Guerrero is a six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor now in his eleventh season as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony. Guerrero is also Music Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic at the National Forum of Music in Poland and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. Guerrero has been praised for his “charismatic conducting and attention to detail” (Seattle Times) in “viscerally powerful performances” (Boston Globe) that are “at once vigorous, passionate, and nuanced” (BachTrack).
Through commissions, recordings, and world premieres, Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony have championed the works of American composers who are defining today’s musical landscape, making Nashville a destination for contemporary orchestral music. Guerrero has presented eleven world-premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including the GRAMMY-winning performance of Michael Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway and Terry Riley’s Palmian Chord Ryddle.
Guerrero’s rich discography with the Nashville Symphony numbers seventeen, including the 2019 Naxos release of world premiere recordings of works by Jonathan Leshnoff, with the composer’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos.” The symphony was commissioned by the Nashville Symphony for the Violins of Hope, a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust. This recording marks the first time the instruments have been heard on a commercially available album.
In a glowing review of Guerrero’s recording of John Harbison’s Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus released in 2018, MusicWeb International declared, “Giancarlo Guerrero brings out not just the drama but also the many subtleties in the score.” Other albums have been dedicated to the music of composers as diverse as Jennifer Higdon, Richard Danielpour, Joan Tower and Béla Fleck.
During the 2019/2020 season, Naxos will release recordings of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Symphony No. 4 and Christopher Rouse’s Concerto for Orchestra, both recorded with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. As part of his commitment to fostering contemporary music, Guerrero, together with composer Aaron Jay Kernis, guided the creation of Nashville Symphony’s biannual Composer Lab & Workshop for young and emerging composers.
Guerrero enjoys relationships with orchestras around the world. His 2019/20 season will include return engagements with the Boston Symphony, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Bamberg Symphony, Frankfurt Opera and Museums Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony. In January 2020, Guerrero will conduct the Wrocław Philharmonic on a twelve-city North American tour.
Maestro Guerrero has appeared with prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Montréal, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He has developed a strong international guestconducting profile and has worked in recent seasons with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, Deutsches Radio Philharmonie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, NDR in Hannover, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Queensland Symphony and Sydney Symphony in Australia. Guerrero was honored as the keynote speaker at the 2019 League of American Orchestras conference, where his address on transforming “inspiration and innovation into meaningful action” was met with a unified standing ovation.
Guerrero made his debut with Houston Grand Opera in 2015 conducting Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Early in his career, he worked regularly with the Costa Rican Lyric Opera and has conducted new productions of Carmen, La bohème, and Rigoletto. In 2008 he gave the Australian premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's one-act opera Ainadamar at the Adelaide Festival.
Guerrero previously held posts as the Principal Guest Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra Miami (2011-2016), Music Director of the Eugene Symphony (2002-2009), and Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra (1999- 2004).
Born in Nicaragua, Guerrero immigrated during his childhood to Costa Rica, where he joined the local youth symphony. As a promising young student, he came to the United States to study percussion and conducting at Baylor University in Texas; he earned his master’s degree in conducting at Northwestern, where he studied with Victor Yampolsky. Given his beginnings in civic youth orchestras, Guerrero is particularly engaged with conducting training orchestras and has worked with the Curtis School of Music, Colburn School in Los Angeles, and Yale Philharmonia, as well as with the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program, which provides an intensive music education to promising young students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. In recent years, he has also developed a relationship with the National Youth Orchestra (NYO2) in New York, created and operated by the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hall.
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
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THE TRAINING GROUNDS FOR THE MUSICIANS OF TOMORROW
The Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Program is the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer academy for advanced musical study. The TMC offers an intensive schedule of study and performance for emerging professional instrumentalists, singers, conductors, and composers who have completed most of their formal training in music.
Serge Koussevitzky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's music director from 1924 to 1949, founded the school with the intention of creating a premier music academy where, with the resources of a great symphony orchestra at their disposal, young musicians would sharpen their skills under the tutelage of Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians and other specially invited artists.
The Berkshire Music Center opened formally on July 8, 1940, with both speeches (Koussevitzky, alluding to the war then raging in Europe, said, "If ever there was a time to speak of music, it is now in the New World") and music, including the first performance of Randall Thompson's Alleluia for unaccompanied chorus, which was written for the ceremony and arrived less than an hour before the event was to begin, but which made such an impression that it is sung every summer at the TMC's Opening Exercises. The TMC became Koussevitzky's pride and joy for the rest of his life. He assembled an extraordinary faculty in composition, operatic and choral activities, and instrumental performance; he himself taught the most gifted conductors.
Koussevitzky continued to develop the Tanglewood Music Center until 1950, a year after his retirement as the BSO's music director. Charles Munch, his successor in that position, ran the TMC from 1951 through 1962, working with Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland to shape the school's programs. In 1963, new BSO Music Director Erich Leinsdorf took over the school's reins, returning to Koussevitzky's hands-on leadership approach while restoring a renewed emphasis on contemporary music. The TMC's annual Festival of Contemporary Music, produced in association with the Fromm Music Foundation, was begun in 1963.
In 1970, three years before his appointment as BSO music director, Seiji Ozawa became head of the BSO's programs at Tanglewood, with Gunther Schuller leading the TMC and Leonard Bernstein as general advisor. Leon Fleisher served as the TMC's Artistic Director from 1985 to 1997. In 1994, with the opening of Seiji Ozawa Hall, the TMC centralized its activities on the Leonard Bernstein Campus, which also includes the Aaron Copland Library, chamber music studios, administrative offices, and the Leonard Bernstein Performers Pavilion adjacent to Ozawa Hall. In 1998, Ellen Highstein was appointed to the new position of Director of the Tanglewood Music Center, operating under the artistic supervision of Seiji Ozawa. Maestro James Levine took over as Music Director of the BSO in 2005 and has continued the tradition of hands-on involvement with the TMC, conducting both orchestral concerts and staged operas, as well as participating in masterclasses for singers, conductors, and composers.
It would be impossible to list all the distinguished musicians who have studied at the Tanglewood Music Center. According to recent estimates, 20 percent of the members of American symphony orchestras, and 30 percent of all first-chair players, studied at the TMC.
Today, alumni of the Tanglewood Music Center play a vital role in the musical life of the nation. Tanglewood and the Tanglewood Music Center, have become a fitting shrine to the memory of Serge Koussevitzky, a living embodiment of the vital, humanistic tradition that was his legacy. At the same time, the Tanglewood Music Center maintains its commitment to the future as one of the world's most important training grounds for the composers, conductors, instrumentalists, and vocalists of tomorrow.
TMC Conducting and Vocal Fellow