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Apr. 27 & 28: Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux performs in live recording for Naxos Records with the Nashville Symphony
Source: Jensen Artists

Nashville, TN – Grammy-winning classical guitarist Jason Vieaux will perform Jonathan Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto with the Nashville Symphony under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero in two performances onFriday, April 27, 2018 at 8pm and Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 8pm at Schermerhorn Symphony Center (1 Symphony Place). The program also features Latin-inspired works including Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole and Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes, plus Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin. Vieaux’s performances of Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto will be recorded live for 2019 release on Naxos Records


Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto is a virtuoso display that draws on both classical Spanish and Brazilian guitar traditions and the composer’s own Jewish spirituality. Leshnoff admits, “I don’t play the guitar myself, and it’s notoriously difficult, almost impossible, to write for the instrument unless you play it.” When taking on the challenge to compose this concerto, Leshnoff immersed himself in studying the literature – above all the concertos of Heitor Villa-Lobos and the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo.


The spiritual aspect is particularly evident in the second movement, which relies on a metaphorical connection between the music and a concept from Jewish thought symbolized by the sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet, Vav (ו), which is associated with the Hebrew word 'hod’ and the related concepts of humility and appreciation. “These Hebrew letters are coming more often in what I do,” says Leshnoff. “It is very important to the work, and to me.”


Of the piece, Vieaux says, “I am very pleased to have encountered this very challenging piece of music. It is quite beautiful, and is even helping to develop some new wrinkles in my chops along the way! I am confident that this will be a major addition to the guitar concerto repertoire.” Leshnoff echoes, "I am thrilled to have such a fine artist as Jason Vieaux sharing my dear Guitar Concerto with the Nashville community. This is a work that I put a lot of my soul into, and I know Jason has the technique and musicality to pull it off beautifully." 


Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto was commissioned and premiered in January 2014 by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with guitarist Manuel Barrueco and co-commissioned by the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, the Nashville Symphony and the Reno Philharmonic.


About Jason Vieaux:

Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today's classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is the guitarist that goes beyond the classical. NPR describes Vieaux as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” His most recent solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.


Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music, and his schedule of performing, teaching, and recording commitments is distinguished throughout the U.S. and abroad. 


Recent highlights include performances at Caramoor Festival as Artist-in-Residence, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, New York's 92Y, and Ravinia Festival. He collaborates in recitals this season with Escher Quartet; Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke; violinists Anne Akiko Meyers, Kristin Lee, and Tessa Lark; acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis; and will tour the US with accordion/bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Avner Dorman, Dan Visconti, Vivian Fung, Keith Fitch, Kinan Abou-Afach, David Ludwig, Jerod Tate, Eric Sessler, José Luis Merlin, Jeff Beal, Gary Schocker, and more. He has performed as concerto soloist with over 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, San Diego, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Arkansas, Edmonton, Illinois, Richmond, Fort Wayne, IRIS Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s.


Vieaux continues to bring important repertoire alive in the recording studio as well. Vieaux has upcoming releases on Azica, BIS, and Naxos, and recent recordings include Infusion (Azica) with accordionist/bandoneonist Julien Labro; Ginastera’s Guitar Sonata, which is featured on Ginastera: One Hundred (Oberlin Music) produced by harpist Yolanda Kondonassis; and Together (Azica), a duo album with Kondonassis. In addition to his Grammy-winning 2015 solo release Play, his previous albums include a recording of Astor Piazzolla’s music with Julien Labro and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, Bach: Works for Lute, Vol. 1Images of Metheny, and Sevilla: The Music of Isaac Albeniz. Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series.


In 2012, the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks Inc., an unprecedented technological interface that provides one-on-one online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. In 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music, and in 2015 was invited to inaugurate the guitar program at the Eastern Music Festival. Vieaux has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997, heading the guitar department since 2001.


Vieaux is affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize, the event’s youngest winner ever. He is also honored with a Naumburg Foundation top prize, a Cleveland Institute of Music Distinguished Alumni Award, and a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant.


Jason Vieaux is represented by Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd and plays a 2013 Gernot Wagner guitar with Augustine strings.


For more information, visit


About Jonathan Leshnoff:
Praised by the Washington Post as one of the “gifted young composers” of this generation, Jonathan Leshnoff is described by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism.” His compositions have earned international acclaim for their striking harmonies, structural complexity, and powerful themes.


The Baltimore-based composer’s works have been performed by more than 50 orchestras worldwide in hundreds of orchestral concerts, He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall and orchestras including the Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, and Nashville Symphonies, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the IRIS and Philadelphia Orchestras. Leshnoff’s compositions have been performed by classical music’s most celebrated stars, such as Gil and Orli Shaham, Roberto Díaz, and Manuel Barrueco, and have been conducted and embraced by esteemed music directors including Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Robert Spano, and Michael Stern.

Leshnoff has been ranked among the most performed living composers by American orchestras in recent seasons, and upcoming seasons are comparably active with musical activity and collaborations. Highlights for the 2017-18 season include the Nashville Symphony’s premiere of Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 and the Dallas Symphony’s premiere of Leshnoff’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Alex Kerr will perform as soloist for this Dallas premiere, led by Jaap van Zweden on his final program there as Music Director.


Leshnoff has released four albums to date, all on the Naxos American Classics label. The recording of his Violin Concerto No. 1, performed by Charles Wetherbee with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, was selected among Naxos’ Top 40 CDs of 2009. Other Naxos releases feature his Symphony No. 1, conducted by Michael Stern with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, along with Leshnoff’s chamber music. A recording of the Atlanta Symphony performing Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 2 and Zohar oratorio was released in November 2016.


Celebrated by Fanfare magazine as “the real thing,” Leshnoff’s music has been lauded by Strings magazine as “distinct from anything else that’s out there” and by the Baltimore Sun as “remarkably assured, cohesively constructed and radiantly lyrical.” Leshnoff’s catalog is vast, including several symphonies and oratorios in addition to numerous concerti, solo, and chamber works. Leshnoff is a Professor of Music at Towson University.


About the Nashville Symphony: 

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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