Our final musician couples “at large” post, lots of violas in this one! Between all of these couples, there are amazing private teachers and faculty at Belmont, Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb, and Vanderbilt University! Clockwise from top right, Assistant Principal Viola Shu-Zheng Yang and Lili Yang piano, Principal Bass Joel Reist and Sari Reist cello, Bassist Kevin Jablonski and Jeffrey Williams baritone, Violist Bruce Christensen and Idalynn Besser viola and baroque viola (their pyr puppy D’Arcy does not play an instrument 🐶), Principal Viola Dan Reinker and Sarah Cote viola (their son Sam Reinker plays violin and oboe).
Our final two posts feature the dozen or so musician couples with other musicians “at large”. They play and teach not only in the greater Nashville area but also in orchestras around the country! You’ve probably seen and heard many of them on stage (and in the Nutcracker pit) as subs! Clockwise from top right, Assistant Principal Percussion Richard Graber and percussionist Deborah Loach, Assistant 1st Horn Radu Rusu and Simona Rusu viola, Principal Trombone Paul Jenkins and Anna Spina horn, Assoc Principal/3rd Horn Patrick Walle and Asako Matsumoto piano, Principal Horn Leslie Norton and Chris Norton percussion.
We currently have 9 musicians whose partners are former members of the Nashville Symphony. They have left for various reasons or retired but still enrich our Nashville community, whether as studio session/freelance players, parents, therapists, or teachers. Here are some of them, clockwise from the top left:
Concertmaster Emerita Mary Kathyrn Van Osdale and former violist Gary Van Osdale, bassist Liz Stewart and former violist Jim Grosjean, Principal Tuba Gil Long and former violinist Erin Long, Glen Wanner bass and retired flutist Ann Richards, Pat Kunkee co-principal trumpet and former horn Katie Hagan, violinist Paul Tobias and former violinist Patricia Tobias (as newlyweds circa 1990!).
Our final orchestra couple is Erin and Érik! Erin Hall grew up in Nashville and won the job of assistant concertmaster after completing a Bachelor’s at Juilliard and a Master’s at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her husband Érik Gratton, our principal flute, hails from Montreal Canada. We think he is one of the best flutists in the world but you don’t have to just take our word for it. Érik has won every audition he has taken in the last couple of years, including Montreal,... Seattle, Pittsburg, and most recently the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra where he played principal flute for a year last year. The two met at the Nashville Symphony and got married in 2001 at Cheekwood, with conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn (whom our hall is named after) in attendance! When not working, Erin and Érik enjoy doing home projects together and tending to their backyard bees. 🐝
Kevin Bate won the assistant principal cello job in April 2015 and is originally from Milwaukee WI. Jung-Min Shin comes from Seoul Korea and won her permanent position in the Nashville Symphony second violin section in March 2017 after playing for a few years on one year contracts. During that time, she also finished her doctorate at IU and they had another baby! Indiana University was where they met and they have been married since 2011. Kevin enjoys home brewing in his spare time and they both like taking walks in Franklin with their two daughters Liana and Jayna.
Sharing some clarinet ❤️ from our principal clarinetist James Zimmermann for his Clarinet Jobs YouTube channel! Here's a look at what it takes to play this most romantic of clarinet solos from Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto and what our jobs entail as orchestra musicians, presented in a fun and informative way. Check it out!
Cellist Matt Walker and Assistant Principal Second Violinist Zeneba Bowers met in the orchestra and got married in their back yard in 2005. They are both founding members of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble of which Zeneba was Artistic Director for 16 years. Matt is also a talented composer/producer and has the distinction of not only being a grammy nominated producer but also performing his own cello duet with Yo-Yo Ma at the Schermerhorn! In their spare time, they run a travel company together called Little Roads Europe which provides off the beaten path vacation planning for travelers who want to have a more authentic, immersive experience in Europe, and have written three guides to different parts of Italy and Ireland. They enjoy living in East Nashville with their cats. 🐈❤️🎻🇮🇹🇮🇪
Kenny Barnd and Rebecca Cole, our next couple, are members of the second-violin section. Kenny Barnd joined the orchestra in 1999, and Rebecca Cole won the next violin audition less than a year later. They met at the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder and were married in 1990. For many summers, they performed together at the Oregon Bach Festival, the Peter Britt Music Festival (where they were stand partners), and the Oregon Coast Festival. While practicing their Nashville Symphony music, Kenny and Rebecca often ask each other about bowings and accidentals. Both of them love cats, dogs, and spicy ethnic food. 🐱🐶🔥🎻🎻❤️
Jeff and Carrie Bailey are our first featured couple! Jeff is our principal trumpet and is a TN native from near Kingsport TN (see previous post). Principal Second Violin Carrie’s hometown is Lakeland FL. They met here at the Nashville Symphony and have been married since 1999. In addition to being leaders in the orchestra, they are also some of the busiest session/chamber musicians in town. When not working, they enjoy tending their hobby farm together! 🐕🐈🐓🐣🐴🐐
Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and we would like to answer the burning question on everyone’s mind, how many musician couples do we have in the Nashville symphony? 🥁🙏! Currently, we have 5 married couples who are both members of the orchestra, 9 couples with former symphony members, and another dozen or so members who’s partners are musicians in the greater Nashville/world community. Birds of a feather flock together? Or is it our unpredictable/backward hours don’t make it easy for us to meet many “civilians”? Stay tuned for more pics and details!
We have a new CD out featuring our amazing principals winds! James Zimmermann clarinet, Érik Gratton flute, and Leslie Norton french horn! Check it out!
NEW ALBUM RELEASED!
Wind Concertos featuring Musicians of the Nashville Symphony
Frank Ticheli's Clarinet Concerto with James Zimmermann
Brad Warnaar's Horn Con...certo with Leslie Norton
Behzad Ranjbaran's Flute Concerto with Érik Gratton
It’s less than a week until Valentine’s Day! Can anyone guess how many musician couples we have in the orchestra? We currently have 81 full-time musicians on contract, including 2 full-time librarians if that helps? Leave your guesses in the comments below and we’ll let you know next week! 🎶❤️
Now that both Mozart’s Bday and the Super Bowl are over, you may be feeling a little aimless. Might we suggest you come hear some of the greatest string quartets of all time on the next Chamber Music Series concert (formerly Onstage) this Tuesday, Feb 6 at 6pm, Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Violinist Jessica Blackwell will be leading a string quartet comprised of Jung-Min Shin on violin along with Betsy Lamb Flynn viola and Kevin Bate cello. Don’t miss “Favorites for Four” with selections from some of the greatest quartets of all time, music by Beethoven, Borodin, Dvořák, Mozart and Schubert. Tickets are free but you will need to register in advance at: https://www.nashvillesymphony.org/tickets/
Joyce Yang was amazing last night in the Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto! Here she is hanging out at intermission with our former VP of artistic admin Larry Tucker who is enjoying retirement with his wife Rise by coming to our concert! You have two more chances to hear this incredible soloist and program Fri and Sat at 8pm @nashvillesymphony for tickets. #nsomusicians
And now we'd like to give some background on two of our seven musicians who grew up in Tennessee:
Our Principal Tubist, Gilbert Long, is a Nashville native with strong ties to the history of our orchestra. His father, Rufus Long, served as Principal Flute and was also a well-known music teacher/band director as well as a studio musician. Gil spent his early years in Crieve Hall, East Nashville, Hendersonville, and West Meade. He graduated from Hillwood High School.
Gil recal...ls the symphony brass quintet visiting his elementary school as well as attending children’s concerts. As a member of the youth orchestra, he enjoyed working with former Nashville Symphony Music Director Thor Johnson. They would hang out and talk “orchestra” after rehearsals. He studied with former Principal Trumpet Pat McGuffey and former symphony trombonist Gene Mullins. He joined both of them as a member of the Nashville Symphony in 1978.
Jeff Bailey, our Principal Trumpet player, also grew up in Tennessee but he comes from about as far away from Nashville as you can get and still be in Tennessee. Jeff is from the small town of Church Hill near Kingsport in northeast Tennessee. He came to Nashville to attend college at Peabody and Vanderbilt. He remembers hearing the symphony perform Pictures at an Exhibition when he was a college Freshman. He was very inspired and began practicing the piece that night. The famous trumpet solo was performed by his teacher and NSO Principal Trumpet Pat McGuffey. Jeff remembers playing the Verdi Requiem in War Memorial as his first performance as a musician in the symphony. He joined the orchestra in 1983.
Stay tuned to learn about the other 5 musicians.
We are Beyond Thrilled!
Beyond thrilled that our Naxos recording of Jennifer Higdon's All Things Majestic won the GRAMMY® for Best Classical Compendium *and* Higdon's Viola Concerto wo...n the GRAMMY® for Best Contemporary Classical Composition! ❤️❤️❤️ to Jennifer Higdon, Giancarlo Guerrero, Musicians of the Nashville Symphony, violist Roberto Díaz and Naxos of America