Nashville-based electric violinist Tracy Silverman is the connecting thread that led the Nashville Symphony to commission a new work by Terry Riley. We’d featured Tracy’s swooping, soaring instrument in a performance of John Adams‘ gorgeous “The Dharma at Big Sur” a few seasons back, and one thing led to another, and the Nashville Symphony decided to commission a new work spotlighting this most singular of Music City talents.
Tracy’s first choice of composer was Terry Riley, and…well, here we are now, about to premiere the new piece! This is notable for a few reasons – one being that few major American orchestras have commissioned work from this genuinely paradigm-shifting artist. If it weren’t for works like Riley’s “In C” and “A Rainbow in Curved Air,” it’s fair to say that the music of everyone from Brian Eno to The Who to Kraftwerk might not sound the way it does.
Tracy’s connection with Riley goes back to the 1990s, when the composer invited him to join his band, the All-Stars. As Tracy discusses here, that working relationship has exerted a huge influence on his own artistry over the years, so it’s genuinely gratifying for the Nashville Symphony to facilitate what we believe is the ideal pairing of composer and soloist.
Want to hear Tracy talk more about working with Terry Riley? Watch the video below, where he discusses his first rehearsal with the composer.
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