Orchestra Remix

Traditional programming isn’t attracting enough new audiences to allow orchestras to flourish. But there’s a lot to be excited about. Creative programming that crosses traditional boundaries is happening more and more as orchestras explore how to develop and nurture new audiences without alienating their sustaining audience.

I’ll explore hybrid programs that present new music of diverse styles alongside traditional works in ways that attract new audiences. The goal of Orchestra Remix is to support the expanding dialogue about the future of orchestral music, and especially new music’s role in attracting and nurturing audiences.

I believe that classical music can best be advanced with a creative mix of new and traditional works in whatever style best fits the occasion.

Paul Gambill

I am co-founder and executive director of the Community Engagement Lab, and served as music director of the Nashville Ballet from 2004-2011. The ideas that I’m presenting on Orchestra Remix were developed during my 19 years as music director of Orchestra Nashville.

Orchestra Nashville (formerly the Nashville Chamber Orchestra) was a traditional chamber orchestra for it’s first five years, until we began commissioning. At that point I started searching out composers that could create hybrid works, integrating non-classical and classical styles. To share that new music with our audience, while staying true to our classical roots, I developed a similarly hybrid programming style that never shied away from reaching across the isle to include non-classical music if it could inform the performance of the classical works we were presenting. As a result, the audiences that are drawn to these programs are as diverse as the music being presented.

I have had the good fortune to commission 45 works for orchestra so far, and record several of them. My work can be heard on the Naxos, Angel, Warner Brothers, J2, AlbanyCompass and Alabaster labels. The commissioning program I led with Orchestra Nashville also resulted in four multi-year composer residencies, including a three-year Music Alive Meet the Composer residency with David Balakrishnan from Turtle Island Quartet.

By creating programs that cross musical boundaries and challenge audience’s notions of what an orchestra can be, I have had the opportunity to share the stage with a wide variety of artists, such as Turtle Island Quartet, Marietta Simpson, NEXUS percussion ensemble, Sharon Isbin, John Jorgenson, Tracy Silverman, Trey Anastasio, Donna Summer, Bill Frizell, Gilles Apap, Raul Jaurena, Howard Levy, Sam Bush, Darrell Scott, Martina McBride and Alison Krauss.

Creating community engagement outside of the concert hall is the other passion in my career. My community engagement programs have received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music, Meet The Composer and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s New Strategies Lab.

I currently live in Montpelier, Vermont, with my wife, Joy, our two sons, Nicholas and Benjamin, and our golden retriever, Sebastian.

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