Jan 6, 2011: Nashville Symphony
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 by thick, muddy water. 31 people lost their lives. Damages totaled at least 1.5 billion dollars.
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 of 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 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. 50 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 dollars 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 Dec. 31. Our live broadcast on Jan. 6 highlighted the return of a great American orchestra, and celebrated the resilience and spirit of a great American city. Nicholas McGegan conducts the Nashville Symphony at the newly restored Schermerhorn Symphony Center. We won't take a single note for granted.
Guest conductor Nicholas McGegan returns for a program devoted to three of classical music's foremost talents. Beethoven's frequently overlooked Fourth Symphony finds the composer developing his mastery of the symphonic form, with a mood of joyousness and spontaneity that provides a striking contrast to his Fifth Symphony. Mozart penned his equally exuberant Piano Concerto No. 22 during one of the most successful and productive periods of his career, as he generated innovative new ideas for the concerto genre. Soloist Robert Levin is one of the world's foremost Mozart scholars, widely known and respected for his sensitive handling of the composer's works.
Re-opening night, New Year's Eve 2010 Credit: Stephen Drake/Flickr