Premiere of Ben Folds Piano Concerto at Nashville Symphony

Ben Folds

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This classical music review was written by John Pitcher.

Ben Folds

There would seem to be a lot more rock than Rachmaninoff in Ben Folds, the popular Nashville-based singer, songwriter and, as of late, composer of glittering virtuoso showpieces.

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Following the world premiere of his new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra on Thursday night with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Folds was called on to play an encore. Not being Rachmaninoff, though, Folds confessed that he didn’t know any instrumental pieces (“other than the one I just made up”). So as a kind of compromise, he led the packed Schermerhorn Symphony Center in a rollicking, sing-along rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

That encore, along with the excitement created by the new concerto, seemed to have an intoxicating effect on the audience.

Read the full review over at ArtsNash.

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.