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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Kelsea Ballerini to Receive Nashville Symphony Harmony Award

Country star to perform at 35th annual Symphony Ball on December 14;

Symphony President & CEO Alan D. Valentine will also receive honorary Harmony Award

Laura Kimbrell and Amy Jackson Smith, chairmen of the 2019 Symphony Ball fundraiser, have announced that country music recording artist Kelsea Ballerini will receive the 2019 Nashville Symphony Harmony Award.

Ballerini will receive the award and perform during the 35th annual Symphony Ball on Saturday, December 14, 2019, at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Presented annually by the Symphony and selected by a dedicated committee, the Harmony Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s musical community.

“Few artists can boast of such a meteoric rise to start their career like Kelsea Ballerini, who has already had an incredible impact on country music, thanks to her unique talent and a string of history-making hits,” said Kimbrell. “A strong, confident woman who serves as a wonderful role model – not to mention a native Tennessean who Music City is proud to call one of its own – Kelsea is a worthy addition to the prestigious list of past Harmony Award winners, and we can’t wait for her performance at the Symphony Ball in December.”

Kimbrell and Jackson Smith also announced that Symphony president and CEO Alan D. Valentine will be presented with an honorary Harmony Award at the event, in recognition of his 20-plus years of service to the organization and the Middle Tennessee community.

“Alan’s passion, dedication and leadership over the past two decades has expanded the Nashville Symphony’s footprint in Middle Tennessee, while also helping to significantly elevate its profile across the country and around the world,” noted Jackson Smith. “It is fitting that on a night when we’re honoring one of music’s rising stars, we’re also recognizing a veteran like Alan for his invaluable contributions to both the Nashville Symphony and our entire community.”

Since her Gold-certified, full-length debut The First Time in 2015, Ballerini has consistently made history while elevating country music for a new era. The vocalist, songwriter and performer is the only female country artist ever to achieve three consecutive No. 1 songs from a debut album, and her total streams to date exceed 2 billion. In addition to earning two GRAMMY® nominations, Ballerini has won two Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards and iHeartRadio’s Best New Artist Award, and was welcomed by the Grand Ole Opry as its youngest current member.

Ballerini’s 2017 release Unapologetically marked her second Top 5 debut on the Billboard Top 200, and in addition to touring alongside everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Keith Urban, she ascended to an arena headliner on The Miss Me More Tour. Ballerini’s newest single, “homecoming queen?,” continues to climb the country charts, with her third full-length release slated for 2020 on Black River Entertainment.

Valentine joined the Nashville Symphony in June 1998 and has presided over an unprecedented period of growth for the organization, highlighted by construction of the world-renowned Schermerhorn Symphony Center in 2006, as well as 13 GRAMMY® Awards and 24 GRAMMY® nominations, more than 30 critically acclaimed recordings, two Carnegie Hall performances, an East Coast tour, an Emmy Award-winning television broadcast and numerous national radio appearances. He has overseen two capital and endowment campaigns that generated more than $145 million, and under his leadership, the Symphony has repeatedly set new records for ticket sales and fundraising in recent years. 

The Symphony Ball is Nashville’s premier winter social event and one of the Nashville Symphony’s two annual fundraisers. Since its inception in 1985, the Ball has raised millions for the Symphony, sustaining the organization’s mission of inspiring, entertaining, educating and serving through excellence in musical performance.     

Past recipients of the Harmony Award include Chet Atkins, Mike and Linda Curb, Rascal Flatts, Béla Fleck, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Lyle Lovett, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Marty Stuart, Taylor Swift, Steven Tyler, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Steve Winwood and Trisha Yearwood.

The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America’s leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released more than 30 recordings on Naxos, which have received 24 GRAMMY® nominations and 13 GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. The orchestra has also released recordings on Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and New West Records, among other labels. With more than 140 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children’s concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reached 45,000 children and adults during the 2018/19 season.


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