Music Director, Martha & Bronson Ingram Music Director Chair, Nashville Symphony
Giancarlo Guerrero is a six-time Grammy Award-winning conductor now in his tenth season as music director of the Nashville Symphony. Guerrero is also music director of the Wrocław Philharmonic at the National Forum of Music in Poland and principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. Guerrero is widely praised for his instinctive musicianship and for bringing to the podium “not only vitality and insight but also an appealing physical dynamism” (The Plain Dealer).
A passionate proponent of new music, Guerrero has championed the works of America's most respected composers through commissions, recordings, and world premieres. Guerrero’s advocacy has helped make Nashville a destination for contemporary orchestral music. He has presented nine world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including the 2016 performance and recent Grammy-winning recording of Jennifer Higdon’s All Things Majestic and the 2018 premiere and recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos,” written for the Nashville Symphony’s Violins of Hope initiative, which featured a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust. As part of his commitment to fostering contemporary music, Guerrero developed and guided the creation of Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab & Workshop initiative, together with composer Aaron Jay Kernis.
Fall of 2018 brought the Naxos release of John Harbison’s monumental Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus. The release marks both Guerrero’s first choral recording and the first commercially available release of the work, which received its premiere by the Boston Symphony in 2003. In the spring of 2019, Naxos will release Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony’s recording of Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4. Recent seasons have also seen the release of new albums with Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony dedicated to the music of Terry Riley, Michael Daugherty, and Richard Danielpour, as well as a collection of wind concertos by Frank Ticheli, Brad Warnaar, and Behzad Ranjbaran. With the Harbison and Leshnoff releases, Guerrero’s rich discography with the Nashville Symphony will number 17.
Outside of Nashville, Wrocław, and Lisbon, Guerrero enjoys relationships with orchestras around the world. His 2018/19 engagements include the Dallas Symphony, Chicago Symphony, NDR in Hannover, OSESP São Paulo, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia.
Maestro Guerrero has appeared with prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Montréal, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He has developed a strong international guest-conducting profile and has worked in recent seasons with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, Deutsches Radio Philharmonie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Queensland Symphony and Sydney Symphony in Australia.
Guerrero made his debut with Houston Grand Opera in 2015 conducting Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Early in his career, he worked regularly with the Costa Rican Lyric Opera and has conducted new productions of Carmen, La bohème, and Rigoletto. In 2008 he gave the Australian premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's one-act opera Ainadamar at the Adelaide Festival.
Guerrero previously held posts as the principal guest conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra Miami (2011-2016), music director of the Eugene Symphony (2002-2009), and associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra (1999-2004).
Guerrero was born in Nicaragua and immigrated during his childhood to Costa Rica, where he joined the local youth symphony. He quickly proved to be a promising young percussionist and came to the United States to study percussion and conducting at Baylor University in Texas and at Northwestern. Given his beginnings in civic youth orchestras, Guerrero is particularly engaged with conducting training orchestras and works regularly with the Curtis School of Music, Colburn School in Los Angeles, and Yale Philharmonia, as well as with the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program, which provides music education to promising young students from underrepresented ethnic communities. In recent years, he has developed a relationship with the National Youth Orchestra (NYO2) in New York, created and operated by the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hall.