Kenneth Schermerhorn, 75, who led the Nashville Symphony for more than 20 years, died Monday of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Born in Schenectady, N.Y., Schermerhorn learned to play violin, clarinet and trumpet as a child.
He studied at the New England Conservatory and played in the trumpet section of the Boston Symphony after graduation.
After being drafted into the Army in the early 1950s, his first conducting post was with the 7th Army Symphony Orchestra. In 1957, he was appointed music director of the American Ballet Theatre, a position he held for nine years.
He was also assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic in 1959 and 1960. From 1968 to 1980, he served as music director and conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony.
He joined the Nashville Symphony as music director and conductor in 1983. A new symphony hall in Nashville, currently under construction, will be named for him.