Kenneth Schermerhorn

Biography

Born: November 20, 1929; Schenectady, NY   Died: April 18, 2005; Nashville, TN  
Kenneth Schermerhorn was one of the most respected conductors on the American scene, especially highly regarded as a builder of orchestras.

He grew up learning to play the trumpet and graduated from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied conducting with Richard Burgin. He then won the Koussevitzky Prize, the main prize for young conductors at the Berkshire Music Center. During his military service he
Read more became the conductor of the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra (stationed in Germany), obtaining leadership and artistic experiences rarely available to aspiring conductors in their early 20s. On his return to the United States he joined the American Ballet Theater, of which he was the musical director from 1957 to 1967. He also studied with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood and became assistant conductor to Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic (1959 - 1960 season). During this period Schermerhorn married Lupe Serrano, the ABT's principal ballerina.

From 1963 to 1968 he was the music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, then in the years 1968 - 1980 had a similar position with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In both cases he was credited with accomplishing great improvements in their ensemble and artistic qualities. He remarried in 1975, to soprano Carol Neblett. The dancer-choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov chose Schermerhorn's 1977 recording with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker as the soundtrack for an annually-televised production of that ballet.

From 1982 to 1984 he accepted three major positions. The first was the resumption of the post of music director of the American Ballet Theater (1982 - 1988). Grove's Dictionary's contributor Michael Steinberg credits his ballet leadership experience, in part, with making him "one of the most versatile, dependable American conductors of his generation." In 1983 Schermerhorn became music director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, which he brought from the status of an average regional orchestra to a contender for national recognition. In late 2000 he lead the orchestra on a tour of the East Coast, including its Carnegie Hall debut. In 1983 he was also selected to conduct the gala concert for the Metropolitan Opera Centennial, thus appearing on a world-wide television network produced by PBS. In 1984 he became the music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, remaining there through 1988. That orchestra had been founded by HNH Records executive Klaus Heymann, who was transforming it into a fully professional ensemble with the aim of making it fit to record and release recordings on his Hong Kong (later Marco Polo) Records label. Schermerhorn accomplished this feat of orchestra-building and, in so doing, forged a close link with HNH. For HNH's labels Marco Polo and Naxos he has recorded orchestral music of Villa Lobos and Alexander Glazunov, and a Cesar Cui release. In 1999 he began recording for Naxos a series of the orchestral music of Charles Ives and Howard Hanson.

Schermerhorn guest conducted extensively, appearing on the concert stages of the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, and symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Detroit, San Antonio, Seattle, San Francisco, Baltimore, and New Orleans, as well as at the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Mexico, the Zagreb Philharmonic, and other venues in Australia, Europe, China, and Japan. He conducted opera in San Francisco, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Edmonton. He died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after a brief battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 32 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Animals In Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 578281 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  George Frideric Handel,  Edvard Grieg,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  John Artore,  Balazs Szkolay,  Giorgio Koukl,  Takako Nishizaki  ... 
    Conductor:  Kees Bakels,  Peter Breiner,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  David Lloyd-Jones  ... 
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  • 2.
    Morton Gould: American Legend
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503259 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Morton Gould
    Performer:  Stephanie Zelnick,  James F. Neal
    Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar,  Scott Weiss,  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra,  University of Kansas Wind Ensemble,  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Liberty! / O'Conner, Ma, Marsalis, Taylor, Schermerhorn, Nashville Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 756126 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mark O'Connor,  William Shield,  Andrew Law,  Richard Einhorn
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark O'Connor,  John Jarvis,  John Mock  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, American Ballet Theatre [blu-ray]
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 2925 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Ballet Theatre Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Great Sacred Masterpieces
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501062 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  Gregorio Allegri,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Gonda,  Julia Faulkner,  Nicholas Gedge,  Lisa Beckley  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly,  Michael Halász,  Johannes Wildner,  László Kovács  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford Camerata,  Schola Cantorum Oxford,  Camerata Budapest  ... 
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    CD: $48.99
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  • 6.
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 882973 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Joaquin Turina  ... 
    Conductor:  André Anichanov,  Uwe Mund,  Kenneth Jean,  Max Bragado-Darman  ... 
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  • 7.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 8.
    Rejoice - A Vision Of Christ Through Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570980 Release Date: 03/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stainer,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Thomas Tallis  ... 
    Performer:  James Gilchrist,  Simon Bailey,  Furio Zanasi,  Ulrich Rausch  ... 
    Conductor:  Timothy Brown,  Diego Fasolis,  Jeremy Summerly,  Kenneth Schermerhorn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Clare College Choir,  Swiss Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 9.
    American Classics - Gould: Fall River Legend, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559242 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Gould
    Performer:  James F. Neal
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras (Complete)
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557460-62 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos
    Performer:  José Feghali,  Rosana Lamosa
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    The Very Best Of Beethoven
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552105-06 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Csaba Onczay,  Takako Nishizaki,  Jénö Jandó,  Stefan Vladar  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Béla Drahos,  Kenneth Schermerhorn,  Michael Halász  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Nicolaus Esterházy Chorus  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 12.
    The Story Of American Classical Music / Scherer, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8558164-65 Release Date: 06/21/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Adams,  Philip Glass,  George Rochberg,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Adele Anthony,  Peter Skaerved,  Mark Wait,  Mike Eldred  ... 
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop,  Takuo Yuasa,  Christopher Lyndon-Gee,  Kenneth Schermerhorn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta Orchestra,  Ulster Orchestra,  Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, American Ballet Theatre
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 2925 Release Date: 09/28/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Ballet Theatre Orchestra
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  • 14.
    American Classics - Carter: Symphony No 1, Etc / Wait, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559151 Release Date: 03/16/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Mark Wait
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Schermerhorn, Nashville Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557060 Release Date: 03/16/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Lori Phillips,  Robynne Redmon,  James Taylor,  Jay Baylon  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra,  Nashville Symphony Chorus
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  • 16.
    American Classics - Beach: Gaelic Symphony, Piano Concerto
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559139 Release Date: 06/17/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amy Marcy Beach
    Performer:  Alan Feinberg
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    American Classics - Explore America Vol 1
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559187 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Florence Beatrice Price,  John Philip Sousa,  Charles Ives,  Michael Torke  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Corley,  Darryl Taylor,  Colin Currie,  William Bolcom  ... 
    Conductor:  Keith Brion,  James Sinclair,  Marin Alsop,  William T. Stromberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Artillery Band,  Northern Sinfonia,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    American Classics - Bernstein: West Side Story/ Schermerhorn
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559126 Release Date: 10/22/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Mike Eldred,  Betsi Morrison,  Marianne Cooke,  Michelle Prentice  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    American Classics - Chadwick: Thalia, Melpomene, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559117 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George W. Chadwick
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Classical Heat
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8520102 Release Date: 05/21/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Aram Khachaturian,  Alberto Ginastera,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Bramall,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Marat Bisengaliev,  Kenneth Jean  ... 
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones,  Anthony Bramall,  Enrique Bátiz,  Johannes Wildner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava,  Festival Orchestra of Mexico  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 21.
    American Classics - Celebrate The American Spirit
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8504024 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edward MacDowell,  Howard Hanson,  Walter Piston,  John Cage  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Prutsman,  Michele Walsh,  James Oliver Buswell,  Randolph Kelly  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fagan,  Kenneth Schermerhorn,  Theodore Kuchar,  Tony Rowe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland,  Nashville Symphony Orchestra,  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 22.
    Villa-lobos: Chôros No 8 & 9 / Schermerhorn, Hong Kong Po
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555241 Release Date: 10/16/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 23.
    Night Music 4 - Classical Favourites For Relaxing
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556604 Release Date: 09/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Alexander Jablokov,  Jana Novakova,  Gabriela Krcková  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Schermerhorn,  Bohdan Warchal,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Oliver Dohnányi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Symphony Orchestra,  Capella Istropolitana,  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    Night Music 9 - Classical Favourites For Relaxing
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556609 Release Date: 09/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Ilona Prunyi,  Csaba Onczay,  András Kiss,  Jénö Jandó  ... 
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal,  Keith Clark,  Jaroslav Dvorák,  Ondrej Lenárd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Budapest Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 25.
    American Classics -  A Sampler
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559118 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edward MacDowell,  Howard Hanson,  Samuel Barber,  Walter Piston  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Prutsman,  Olga Shylayeva,  Randolph Kelly,  James Oliver Buswell  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fagan,  Kenneth Schermerhorn,  Marin Alsop,  Theodore Kuchar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland,  Nashville Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $3.99
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