Best Nashville Symphony Performance

Ax Plays Brahms

This February 2009 program exemplifies the Nashville Symphony's emerging status and its intriguing creative balance: The headlining hook comes from an internationally revered, Grammy-winning pianist, Emanuel Ax, playing a sterling concerto from the Old World repertoire; but the warm-up opens minds with modern-day works by living American composers, including a world premiere of a Rob Mathes concertino inspired by a Wendell Berry poem, a shimmering and intensely gorgeous piece by Leanna Primiani, and a mixed-media arrangement by Cindy McTee pairing the orchestra with computerized blips, beeps and other electronic sounds played on a laptop. MICHAEL McCALL

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