Friday, October 12, 2007

A Fitting Tribute

The architects and others involved in designing the Schermerhorn Symphony Center wanted the Center to be more than just a building. They wanted it to be part of a grand experience, and while all of the interior spaces and their design elements contribute much to that experience, the Center's exterior also plays an important role. In addition to the building's beautiful, neoclassical facade, four sculptures and several granite and limestone fountains surround the building. On the west side of the Center, the Martha Rivers Ingram Garden Courtyard is open to the public daily, providing an oasis of calm in the middle of frenetic, downtown Nashville.

Located in the middle of the courtyard is The Flutist, a sculpture by Martin Varo (above). The base of this sculpture (not visible in this photo) dedicates it to the memory of Kenneth D. Schermerhorn, music director and conductor of the Nashville Symphony from 1983 until his death in 2005.

A native of New York, Schermerhorn studied at Julliard and The New England Conservatory of Music, played trumpet with several orchestras, and studied under Leonard Berstein. Prior to moving to Nashville, he was music director of the American Ballet Theater and the New Jersey Symphony, was assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein, and music director and conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony. While in Nashville, he also served as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Under Schermerhorn's direction, the Nashville Symphony grew in both size and stature. For the first time in the Symphony's history, Schermerhorn took them on a concert tour, performing in halls in the northeast (including Boston) and ending with a critically acclaimed concert at Carnegie Hall. Several symphony patrons followed the orchestra on this tour, and I've heard that after hearing how the orchestra sounded in a good concert venue, the board made the decision to build an acoustically superior hall for the symphony.

Because of the conductor's contribution to the symphony, when they broke ground in 2003, the board announced that the new center would carry his name. Unfortunately, Schermerhorn didn't live long enough to see the completed building. His ashes, however, are buried at the base of The Flutist in the public garden.

Somehow, I think that's a perfect tribute.


quintarantino said...

That's cute...
By the way... waiting for your spare photos.
Você é boa fotógrafa (try to figure this out)

Steve Buser said...

Chris, You have been TAGGED!... see my blog for the details,

--steve buser
New Orleans Daily Photo

GMG said...

With the description you made of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center we may consider ourselves already insiders, ready to order tickets!
Beautiful pictures and quite intersting texts!
Hope you're enjoying your home work, at least we're enjoying your Net work!
Have a great weekend!