Brad Paisley (in cowboy hat) presents the 2021 Harmony Award to the musicians of the Nashville Symphony. Representing the musicians are, left to right, concertmaster Jun Iwasaki, violinist Johna Smith, and tuba player Gil Long. At far right is Nashville Symphony President and CEO Alan D. Valentine. Photo by Nathan Zucker.

In December, the Nashville Symphony celebrated 75 years with an anniversary concert at Schermerhorn Symphony Center led by Principal Pops Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez. The event, which raised $1 million for the orchestra’s free music education programs throughout middle Tennessee, featured violinist Itzhak Perlman and the orchestra in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and spotlighted three living American composers: Carlos Simon (The Block), Joan Tower (Made in America), and Kenji Bunch (Groovebox Fantasy). The Tower work was featured on a Nashville Symphony recording that won multiple 2008 Grammy Awards. Perhaps most significantly in this difficult pandemic year, the Nashville Symphony musicians were given the orchestra’s annual Harmony Award at the event for their perseverance in the face of major challenges. The award, typically awarded to an individual who embodies “the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s musical community,” was presented to the musicians by country music singer/songwriter Brad Paisley, recipient of the orchestra’s 2013 Harmony Award.