Walter Bitner

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The Accelerando Begins

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AccelerandoThis fall, Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement staff have been very busy not only with the delivery of the Symphony’s current education and community programming as often described here on Off the Podium, but with preparations for the launch of our new Accelerando program in 2016.

The launch of Accelerando was announced at a press conference on September 28, and we have been working closely for the last months with representatives from the orchestra and from our community partners – and with others both within our community and beyond – to plan all the details of the launch and make plans for what amounts to the establishment of a small but intensive music school for students from underrepresented communities based here at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, but reaching in many directions out into the community.

AccelerandoPhoto1Accelerando in a nutshell

Accelerando will serve underrepresented students from grades 5-12 in Middle Tennessee who indicate strong musical aptitude and motivation to pursue a career in classical music with year-round instruction from a Nashville Symphony musician or other highly qualified local instructor. Students accepted into the program will be eligible to receive complimentary tickets to Nashville Symphony Classical series performances, annual solo recital and chamber performance opportunities, and will be required to participate in technical and performance juries each year.  Accelerando students will be required to participate in their school bands or orchestras and/or local youth orchestras, and to participate in yet to be determined summer programs which may include summer music camps.  Guidance and counseling will be provided to students and their families about every aspect of preparing for a professional musical career including college applications.

Accelerando information meetings and auditions

Beginning in January, we will host information meetings here at Schermerhorn and at other locations in Nashville for interested student musicians and their families:

  • Saturday, January 30, 10 am-noon: Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 1 Symphony Place. If you are planning to attend this information session, please RSVP by email to or call 615.687.6587
  • Tuesday, February 2, 6-7 pm: Creswell Middle Arts Magnet, 3500 John Mallette Dr.
  • Thursday, February 4, 6-7 pm: Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike
  • Tuesday, February 9, 6-7 pm: Oliver Middle School, 6211 Nolensville Rd.
  • Auditions will take place Saturday, March 12, noon-6 pm, at W.O. Smith Music School, 1125 8th Ave. S.

Accelerando auditions are open to students in grades 4-10. Students interested in auditioning for Accelerando must submit an application (including a letter of recommendation) and perform a live audition on March 12, during which they will be given 10 minutes to demonstrate their proficiency on their instrument.

2016 audition applications for Accelerando must be received no later than Friday, March 4, 2016 to be considered.

For complete information including program details, eligibility and audition requirements, and application materials, please visit the Accelerando page of the Nashville Symphony website. For specific questions not covered adequately by the information found there, please contact us by email at or call 615.687.6587.

AccelerandoAuditionsPlease help us get the word out!

Parents, teachers, friends: please help us find students to audition for the inaugural season of Accelerando! We are seeking 6 students to begin the inaugural class of the program in the fall of 2016, and intend to grow the program to a robust 24 students over the next five years at the rate of approximately 5 students per year.

Please share this post, link to the symphony’s webpage on the program, and most importantly, if you know students with strong musical aptitude and motivation who may be qualified for and interested in Accelerando, please share information about the program and encouragement them to apply!

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 3.52.10 PM

Accelerando’s community partners

Accelerando in the news

The program has garnered substantial attention in the media since the September 28 press conference, including coverage in:

and, reaching beyond Nashville, a rather longer, more in-depth interview with yours truly about the program in the November issue of School Band and Orchestra Magazine.

Thank you

Not finally, because bringing this program to life is going to be an ongoing community effort, thank you to everyone whose support and insight has contributed to helping us get this off the ground, many of whom I acknowledged here.

I particularly wish to acknowledge and thank my friend and mentor Mitchell Korn for his continual support and encouragement for my work on this project as well as all of my music education endeavors, dating back to when I was Artistic Director of Music City Youth Orchestra.  Mitchell has been a constant source of insight and his experience in the field of music education is unparalleled. I am constantly aware that the office I work out of every day was once occupied by Mitchell, and the idea of building a talent development program at the Nashville Symphony that eventually became Accelerando originally came from him. Thank you, Mitchell.  I am so grateful for your support personally and that you remain available as the incredible resource you are to the Nashville music education community.


  1. […] The Nashville Symphony will host a series of open meetings at venues throughout Nashville in January and February 2016 to inform students and their families about Accelerando, and auditions will be held on March 12, 2016 at W.O. Smith Music School.  The complete schedule of information meetings as well as many links to articles about the launch of … […]

  2. […] in: we are now in the midst of launching the Nashville Symphony’s new diversity program Accelerando. Our very first auditions for Accelerando will be held on March […]

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