Giancarlo Guerrero, Nashville Symphony Celebrate GRAMMY Win for Higdon recording and Announce Release of Album of World Premiere Recordings of Contemporary Masters

Featuring three of the orchestra’s principal musicians, new recording includes Wind Concertos by Behzad Ranjbaran, Frank Ticheli and Brad Warnaar

Nashville, TN/New York, NY – January 29, 2018 – As they celebrate their latest GRAMMY® win for Best Classical Compendium for their Naxos recording of Jennifer Higdon's All Things Majestic, the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero announce the release of their latest Naxos recording, which continues to advance the Symphony’s mission to promote contemporary American orchestral music. On February 9th, 2018, Naxos will release world premiere recordings of three concertos for wind instruments, each featuring Nashville Symphony principal players. The new album highlights the work of three very distinct composers: Arts & Letters Award recipient Frank Ticheli’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring James Zimmermann; Los Angeles-based film composer and orchestrator Brad Warnaar’s Horn Concerto, featuring Leslie Norton; and Iranian-born Behzad Ranjbaran’s Flute Concerto, featuring Érik Gratton.

While these three pieces are all cast in the traditional three-movement concerto form, each reveals the unique voice of its creator and the interpretive sensitivities of its soloist.

Ticheli’s Clarinet Concerto pays homage to three American musical icons. In the opening movement, “Rhapsody for George,” the composer — with the permission of the Gershwin Estate — makes good hay of the famous opening riff of Rhapsody in Blue before launching into a jazzy, virtuosic exchange between soloist and orchestra. “Song for Aaron” pays a lilting tribute to Aaron Copland’s slower, more pastoral moods, and the piece closes with “Riffs for Lenny,” a jazzy evocation of the iconic Leonard Bernstein’s fiery passion.

Brad Warnaar has a firmly established career in the entertainment industry, having worked on numerous film scores, but his roots are in orchestral music. A horn player himself, he decided to compose his Horn Concerto as a way of exploring a diverse array of styles, including Minimalism, jazz and rock. What makes this work even more unique is his decision to limit himself to using a pure diatonic scale. In the first movement “Tintinnabulations,” the concerto invokes Edgar Allan Poe’s notion of bells, proceeding to the freer, more declamatory movement “Elegies; Lamentations,” and concluding with a searing yet playful “Tarantella.” All three of these movements coalesce into a powerful essay on the original and evocative music that can be wrought from self-imposed creative limitations.

Trained as a classical composer in his native Tehran, Behzad Ranjabaran also studied Persian classical and folk music traditions, which have strongly influenced his composition style. A case in point, his Flute Concerto was shaped in part by his interest in the Ney, a Persian bamboo flute. “In Persian literature, Ney is considered a mystic instrument capable of expressing deep human emotions,” the composer explains. “In writing my flute concerto, I aimed not only to highlight the modern flautist’s ability to play agile and brilliant passages, but also to emulate the delicate sound of Ney.”

Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero says, “From its very beginnings, the Nashville Symphony has demonstrated a commitment to showcasing the music of our time and place through live performances, commissions and recordings. Though on the surface this latest release is unified through its focus on wind players, it also has something even greater to tell us about the sheer breadth and vitality of orchestral music in America today.”


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 28 recordings on Naxos, which have received 24 GRAMMY® nominations and 12 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 up to 60,000 children and adults each year. View a complete discography at


Giancarlo Guerrero is the six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Music Director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2009 and has committed to serving through the 2024-25 season. A passionate proponent of new music, Guerrero has championed the works of several of America's most respected composers. He has presented eight world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including Béla Fleck’s The Impostor banjo concerto, Terry Riley’s Palmian Chord Ryddle electric violin concerto, and the 2016 performance and GRAMMY®-winning recording of Michael Daugherty’s cello concerto Tales of Hemingway. Maestro Guerrero has appeared with many of the prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., among others.  For more information, visit



James Zimmermann joined the Nashville Symphony as Principal Clarinet in 2008. Originally from Hillsborough, New Jersey, he holds a B.M. from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and an M.M. from the University of Minnesota. His principal teachers were Yehuda Gilad and Burt Hara. He has performed at music festivals including the National Repertory Orchestra, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was awarded the Gino B. Cioffi Prize for Outstanding Woodwind Performance. Prior to joining the Nashville Symphony, he was a member of the Pacific Symphony. He has also performed with the Charleston Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Detroit Symphony. James is an active recording musician, and his playing can be heard in virtually every genre of commercial music, including films, at theme parks (such as Disney World and Sea World), in video games, advertisements, and on television. He is also an active educator who has served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, and has presented master classes at Tennessee Technological University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Belmont University.


Leslie Norton, associate professor of horn, has been a member of the faculty of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University since 1989. In 1990, she joined the Nashville Symphony Orchestra as principal horn. Formerly principal horn of the New Orleans Symphony, Norton has played with the Rochester Philharmonic and the Atlanta Symphony. She has also performed with the OK Mozart, the Skaneateles, the Peninsula Music Festivals, and served as principal horn at the Eastern Music Festival for 20 years. Norton is a member of two signature school ensembles: the Blair Woodwind Quintet and Blair Brass Quintet. She is a founding member or ALIAS, Nashville’s premiere chamber group that benefits local charitable organizations. She has appeared as concerto soloist with the Nashville Symphony, the Cumberland Chamber Orchestra, and the Eastern Festival Orchestra. As a recording artist, she has performed on 300 recordings of television, radio, and audio media; these diverse projects ranged from the Nashville Symphony Naxos recordings, to IMAX films and CNN jingles, to collaborations with various Nashville icons in the commercial music industry. Norton is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Verne Reynolds. Additional studies were with Thomas Newell of the Boston Symphony.


Érik Gratton is a native of Montréal, Canada. He received a First Prize with great distinction from the Montréal Conservatory, where he studied with Carolyn Christie and Jean-Paul Major. He furthered his studies with Jeanne Baxtresser at the Manhattan School of Music. Érik is in his 18th season as principal flutist of the Nashville Symphony. He has made many solo appearances with the orchestra, including John Corigliano’s Pied Piper Fantasy. He can be heard on more than 20 recordings with the Nashville Symphony.  Érik has performed with the Montréal Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. He is currently serving as acting principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera. He has also appeared at numerous orchestral festivals, including Tanglewood, Shira Music Festival Israel, the Peninsula Music Festival and Mainly Mozart. Érik is an active session player in Nashville’s busy recording industry and gives solo recitals and plays chamber music on a regular basis. In his spare time, his hobbies include beekeeping, woodworking and discovering new things and places with his wife Erin, who is assistant concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony.

Giancarlo Guerrero