Nashville Symphony Opens 2018/19 Season with Sculpture Unveiling and Bernstein Centennial Celebration

Bust of music director Giancarlo Guerrero to be unveiled prior to concert on September 8 

Nashville, Tenn. (August 22, 2018) – Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony return from their summer hiatus on Saturday, September 8, to kick off the 2018/19 season with the Bernstein Centennial Opening Night, a one-night-only performance that will honor one of America’s most influential and revered composers. The concert is part of a nationwide, yearlong celebration of the 100thanniversary of the composer’s birth.

As part of the opening festivities, a bronze bust of Guerrero by California artist Alicia Ponzio will be unveiled in the Schermerhorn’s Main Lobby prior to the performance. The pre-concert sculpture unveiling promises to add a unique element to the Nashville Symphony’s opening night, introducing another distinctive feature to the Schermerhorn’s architecture and design. The bust was commissioned by Nashville Symphony patrons Dr. Zeljko and Tanya Radic specifically for the Schermerhorn.

Based in San Francisco, sculptor Alicia Ponzio is represented by Haynes Galleries, located in Franklin, Tennessee. She studied and later taught at Italy’s prestigious Florence Academy of Art. Her work has received recognition and honors from the Art Renewal Center, the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, The Portrait Society of America, The California Art Club and The National Sculpture Society, the last of which awarded Ponzio the Alex J. Ettl Grant in 2016. 

Creating the sculpture of Guerrero, the Symphony’s music director since 2009, proved to be a uniquely fulfilling experience for Ponzio. 

“Meeting Giancarlo was an important part of my process in creating this bust,” the artist explains. “I try to get a sense of the individual I’m portraying aside from their public persona. He has a dramatic and powerful presence that I observed and heard during his performances; but at the same time he’s warm and engaging in conversation. I wanted the bust to give the viewers a sense of his intensity, his passion for music and incredible talents, while also describing him as an individual of great humanity.”

Guerrero and his wife Shirley will be on hand for the unveiling and will be joined by Ponzio, Zeljko and Tanya Radic, and Haynes Galleries owner Gary R. Haynes. The event will be open to all patrons with tickets to the Bernstein Centennial Opening Night. Full details of the pre-concert unveiling will be announced to the press in early September, and members of the media are invited to attend. More information about Alicia Ponzio is available on her website.

Symphony Celebrates “Most Important Musical Figure of the 20th Century”

Following the sculpture unveiling, Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony will perform some of Leonard Bernstein’s most popular and enduring works. 

Bernstein, whom Guerrero considers “the most important musical figure of the 20th century,” continues to make a profound impact on the world of music nearly 30 years after his death. The opening-night program pulls together selections from his wide musical spectrum, which was influenced by his passions for the Broadway stage, contemporary political and social issues, his Jewish heritage and the classical music tradition he inherited and later elevated for a rapidly changing American audience.

The evening will open with Three Dance Episodes from On the Town, Bernstein’s first full-scale musical comedy, and the masterful Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront, the 1954 film starring Marlon Brando. Following intermission, Guerrero will lead the orchestra in Bernstein’s First Symphony, subtitled “Jeremiah” after the Old Testament prophet, before closing with Symphonic Dances, which weaves together nine separate musical episodes from West Side Story. Full program notes for the Bernstein Centennial Opening Night are available here.

Tickets for the Bernstein Centennial Opening Night are still available and can be purchased at, via phone at 615.687.6400 or at the Schermerhorn Box Office, One Symphony Place in downtown Nashville.