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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Nashville Symphony Performs Haydn’s Masterful “London” Symphony on October 11 - 12

Eight Symphony principal musicians featured as soloists on Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments and Timpani

Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony celebrate the “Father of the Symphony” Josef Haydn on October 11-12, as the 2018/19 Aegis Sciences Classical Series continues with the composer’s “London” Symphony No. 104 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Considered one of the finest symphonic works ever written, Haydn’s revered piece headlines a program that also includes Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments and Timpani – which features eight orchestra musicians in soloist roles – as well as Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony. 

Starting at $20, great seats are available through the Nashville Symphony’s Classical Cornucopia promotion, and the Symphony’s Soundcheck program offers $10 tickets to students in K-12, college and grad school. Date night packages – which include two tickets, two glasses of wine and Goo Goo chocolates – are also available.

About the Program

A pioneering figure in music history, Haydn was both an associate and a mentor of Mozart and a teacher to Beethoven; remarkably, he penned more than 100 symphonies throughout his illustrious career.

He spent the early part of that career working in a rural corner of Hungary as the court musician for a prominent noble family, during which time he used their small house orchestra to hone his craft, composing more than two dozen symphonies that began elevating the genre beyond the status of music for entertainment.

With his popularity growing substantially across Europe, Haydn embarked on two trips to London in the 1790s, during which he produced 12 works that would become known as his “London” symphonies. Brimming with innovation and vitality, these dozen symphonies “were among the first works to reach canonical status” and “served as a standard against which every other symphony was measured,” according to musicologist A. Peter Brown.

The last of those works, Symphony No. 104, also known by the nickname “London,” premiered at the King’s Theatre in 1795 and represents the pinnacle of a career that would inspire numerous composers to follow.

One of the leading Swiss composers of the last century, Martin was essentially self-taught, and his work was influenced by everything from Ravel and Debussy to folk music and even non-Western rhythmic systems.

Written in 1949, the Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments and Timpani represents Martin at his very best, employing a reduced orchestra to showcase eight instrumentalists in featured roles and using the unique sounds of each to craft their interactions. The composer spares the soloists no technical difficulty, making the concerto an excellent opportunity for Nashville Symphony musicians Érik Gratton (flute), Titus Underwood (oboe), James Zimmermann (clarinet), Julia Harguindey (bassoon), Leslie Norton (horn), Jeffrey Bailey (trumpet), Paul Jenkins (trombone) and Joshua Hickman (timpani) to exhibit their virtuosity.

Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8 opens the program. Written in 1822, six years before the composer’s death, the piece remains a beloved work in the classical repertoire. Over the years, many have speculated as to why Schubert ceased work on the piece after completing just two movements, with some biographers pointing to his illness with syphilis as a possible reason. The work is in the key of B minor, with the two existing movements offering contrasting moments of darkness and light.

Tickets for Haydn’s London Symphony may be purchased:

  • Online at

  • Via phone at 615.687.6400

  • At the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office, One Symphony Place in downtown Nashville

Additional information, including program notes, a Spotify playlist and audio of Maestro Guerrero discussing Haydn’s London Symphony can be found at:

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 29 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 reach 60,000 children and adults each year.


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