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‘Jewish mysticism has served as an inexhaustible inspiration for me, as the works on this recording illustrate. Heichalos, based on the ancient mystical text, was written with the Violins of Hope in mind; I include reflective questions in the score to exude deep meditation from the musicians. My Guitar Concerto is an exploration of worlds from its mysterious beginnings to its fiery, dance-inspired finale. Starburst, my most performed work, is a sparkling display of the infinite energy of the cosmos.’

Jonathan Leshnoff, composer

‘I became interested in Leshnoff a few years ago and started to perform his music, including the Guitar Concerto, one of the greatest additions to guitar and orchestra repertoire in recent years. The next logical step was to commission something and we finally had the opportunity to do so for Violins of Hope, a project that had incredible social impact here in Nashville and was truly one of the most worthwhile initiatives the Nashville Symphony has ever undertaken. We asked Jonathan to write something specifically for these historic instruments, and his writing for them is so powerful, especially in the second movement.’

Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor

World Premiere Recordings
LESHNOFF, J.: Symphony No. 4 / Guitar Concerto / Starburst
Listen to Raymond Bisha's
podcast about this release
Jonathan LESHNOFF (b. 1973)
Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos”
(featuring the VIOLINS of HOPE)
Guitar Concerto* • Starburst

Jason Vieaux, Guitar *
Nashville Symphony • Giancarlo Guerrero

Distinguished by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism,” composer Jonathan Leshnoff is renowned for his music’s striking harmonies, structural complexity and powerful themes. Leshnoff’s works have been performed by more than 60 orchestras worldwide, including commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, and Nashville Symphony orchestras, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the IRIS and Philadelphia orchestras. Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 is a powerful new work written for the Violins of Hope, a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust ( The composer draws inspiration from an ancient Jewish mystical text, Heichalos, to explore spiritual and ethical questions at the heart of the Jewish experience. This world premiere recording also features his energetic Starburst and his Guitar Concerto, a stunning virtuoso showcase for soloist Jason Vieaux.

Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 4, ‘Heichalos’:
Part II: Slow
Listen to an extract from Guitar Concerto:
III. Finale: Lively
Listen to an extract from Starburst
About the Artists
Six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor Giancarlo Guerrero is music director of the Nashville Symphony and the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland, as well as principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. He has championed contemporary American music through commissions and recordings, presenting nine world premieres with the Nashville Symphony by composers including Michael Daugherty and Terry Riley.
Jason Vieaux’s extensive discography includes the 2015 Best Classical Instrumental Solo GRAMMY® Award winner, Play. He has appeared as a soloist with over 100 orchestras, and has fostered premieres by Jonathan Leshnoff, Avner Dorman, Jeff Beal, Dan Visconti, David Ludwig, Vivian Fung and José Luis Merlin. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Cleveland Institute of Music Distinguished Alumni Award and First Prize at the Guitar Foundation of America International Guitar Competition.
The Nashville Symphony has been an integral part of the ‘Music City’ sound since 1946. The 83-member ensemble performs more than 150 concerts annually, with a focus on contemporary American orchestral works. The Nashville Symphony is one of the most active recording orchestras in the US, with 35 releases. Together, these recordings have earned a total of 24 GRAMMY® Award nominations and 13 GRAMMY® Awards, including two for Best Orchestral Performance.
More recordings of music by Jonathan Leshnoff
Chamber Music

Carpe Diem String Quartet
Opus 3 Trio • Miahky • Simas
Nemith • Dove
Stoyanov • DePeters
‘This CD succeeds brilliantly on every level, with committed performances and vivid sonics, both of which enhance the already stunning music.’
Forgotten Chants and Refrains

Wetherbee • Díaz
IRIS Orchestra • Stern
‘…the performances presented here are superb, and the music provides just less than an hour of fully enjoyable listening.’
Violin Concerto
String Quartet No. 1,
“Pearl German”

Baltimore Chamber Orchestra
Thakar • Carpe Diem String Quartet
‘This is very attractive music and the kind of release that Naxos is known for. Sound is superb, especially for the quartet.’
American Record Guide

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