The Nashville Symphony is set to open its new $120 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center this fall. This orchestra has really turned itself around in the past several years–it is now one of the fastest growing orchestras in the United States.
Here is a quite from a recent Polyphonic.org story:
Did you hear? The’?re building a $120 million symphonic concert hall in Nashville. You read that correctly; it’s not a typo– Nashville, Tennessee. Even more, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra Association owns and operates the 197,000-square-foot neo-classically inspired Symphony Center that maintains the goal of transforming Nashville’?s musical landscape and becoming the cultural heart of the city’?s downtown area.
Designed by architect David M. Schwarz, acoustician Paul Scarbrough, and Fisher Dachs Associates, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center is designed to be one of the most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. In addition to the 1,870-seat Laura Turner Concert Hall, the center will contain a 3,000 square-foot education center, the organization’?s administrative offices, numerous musician facilities, and a full commercial kitchen. Another highlight of the new building is a garden and cafe, enclosed by a colonnade which is connected to the west side of the building. The garden will be open to the public throughout the day and during concerts.
Read the entire story (An Orchestral Cinderella Story) here.
Getting a new hall is a huge thing for a symphony orchestra. Although raising the money required for a new hall (usually over $100 million these days) can be a daunting task, it almost always improves the fortunes of the ensemble. Good acoustics, pleasing aesthetic layout, even trivialities like modern restrooms and concessions make a big difference in the audience’s experience. Please the audience and you get people in the seats and donating money. Also, the owners of this hall will be the Nashville Symphony. This is a huge thing for the orchestra. It is very advantageous for an orchestra to own their own hall rather than be a primary renter of a hall.
A hall also cements the orchestra as a more fundamental part of the cultural life of the city. Part of the reason why orchestras like the Florida Philharmonic (see related story) folded is because of the difficulty in identifying with an orchestra that only plays part time in your community.
The Elgin Symphony, of which I am a member, is in the early stages of planning a new hall. I can’t wait to see how that will affect the orchestra’s future when it gets built. Orchestras may not want to admit it, but the facilities are a significant reason why classical audiences come to concerts. Which phrase is more likely?
- I went to Carnegie Hall!
- I saw the Moscow Chamber Players play, and they happened to play at Carnegie Hall!
Visit this page and click ‘Listen to the Nashville Symphony‘ to hear the Nashville Symphony Orchestra performing Samuel Barber’s Essay No. 2 under the direction of their artistic advisor, Leonard Slatkin.
Visit this page to see a backstage tour of the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center.