Countdown To Schermerhorn Center

Nashville has one purty new building in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a $123.5 million, 1,862-seat PAC that should add to Music City’s prestige.

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra has been known to have its share of absent musicians because country music producers like Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley would recruit a string section or two when they were needed for concertos.

The orchestra – one of few in the country with a recording contract – has crossed over into the pop world many times, and one cellist alone has recorded with Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban and Indigo Girls.

The new center is located across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and a block south of the honky-tonk district. Opening night was expected to feature Bela Fleck and bassist Edgar Meyer, followed by a Sunday night of Amy Grant.

“Music lovers are music lovers,” said Rusty Jones, a Music Row attorney who serves on the symphony’s board of directors. “I think we all recognize that it’s only natural that Nashville should also be one of the world capitals for classical music.”

The venue is trimmed in African makore wood and Spanish and Italian marble. It is named after Kenneth Schermerhorn, who led the symphony from 1983 until his death last year.

Schermerhorn was one of many to record during the early days of Music Row. The symphony has less turnover currently because, unlike the old days, its members make their primary income from it.