Martha & Bronson Ingram Music Director Chair
Giancarlo Guerrero is a six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor now in his 11th 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. He 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 11 world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including the GRAMMY®-winning performance of Michael Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway and Terry Riley’s The Palmian Chord Ryddle.
Guerrero’s rich discography with the Nashville Symphony numbers 17 recordings, including the 2019 Naxos release of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos.” The work 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 2019/20 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 biennial 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 12-city North American tour.
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 and Vancouver, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra. He has developed a strong international guest-conducting 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 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.
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