Walter Bitner

Home » Nashville Symphony Programs » Accelerando » Introducing Kimberly McLemore, Accelerando Manager

Introducing Kimberly McLemore, Accelerando Manager

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Kimberly Kraft McLemore, Accelerando Manager, Nashville Symphony

Kimberly Kraft McLemore, Accelerando Manager, Nashville Symphony

2017 is upon us! and Education and Community Engagement staff at the Nashville Symphony are very busy with preparations for our upcoming Young People’s Concerts in January and February,  Curb Concerto Competition on February 25 & 26, and our second season of Accelerando auditions.

Founded in 2016, the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando initiative is designed to prepare gifted young students of diverse backgrounds to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond.


Families interested in learning more about Accelerando are invited to attend one of three public meetings with Nashville Symphony staff:

  • 7-8:30 pm January 24 at Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville
  • 7-8:30 pm February 2 at Hartman Park Community Center, 2801 Tucker Rd., Nashville
  • 7-8:30 pm February 16 at Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville

Click here for Application Information & Audition Requirements.

The deadline to apply for 2017 Accelerando Auditions is February 17, 2017.

Kelley, Kristen, and I are thrilled to welcome Kimberly Kraft McLemore to the symphony’s Education and Community Engagement staff. This week I sat down with Kimberly to speak about the experience she brings to her new role as Accelerando Manager.

How did you first get involved with music?

I am the youngest of four daughters and one of my older sisters played in band throughout middle and high school. I loved attending her concerts and there was never a doubt that I, too, would join the band when I was old enough. I began playing clarinet in middle school and continued through the end of high school. I was also involved with musical theater as a child and began taking private vocal lessons in middle school and continued to take an interest in vocal music via church and school choirs throughout high school.

How did you end up studying music in college?

I initially intended to enter college as a chemistry major, but heard about music scholarship auditions and my private instructor encouraged me to apply. I was accepted into the music program at The University of Tennessee at Martin and fell in love with choral music and conducting. I continued on to complete a music education degree and began making plans to audition for graduate school in choral conducting. I went on to earn a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from The Pennsylvania State University in 2011.

How did you end up in Nashville?

I met my husband, Michael, prior to going away for graduate school. We continued to see each other throughout the two years I was living in Pennsylvania and were married shortly after I graduated. He was living in Nashville and working in the medical field at the time, so I moved back to Tennessee in 2011. We’ve only been in Nashville for five years, but we love this city and we consider it home. It’s a wonderful place to raise our daughter, who is now three.

Where did you teach in Nashville?

After moving to Nashville, I accepted a teaching job in Metro Nashville Public Schools at Antioch High School. I was the Director of Choirs and Theater in addition to serving as the Fine Arts Department Chair. I was also highly involved in the school’s International Baccalaureate program.



Kimberly McLemore directs the Antioch High School Choir


You’ve also been involved with the National Association for Music Education for a number of years. What do you do with NAfME and how did you get started?

Once in Middle Tennessee I joined Middle Tennessee Vocal Association, the local chapter of Tennessee Music Education Association, and began taking students to local and state honor choirs and events. I was contacted in 2014 about becoming involved with the National Association for Music Education National Conference as the All-National Honor Choir Manager when the national conference was being held in Nashville. Throughout the past several years, I have had the opportunity to continue managing the choirs and working with amazing conductors such as Ann Howard Jones, Edith Copley, and Anton Armstrong.

Tell us about the time you sang for President Obama!

During President Obama’s visit to Nashville in June of 2015, I had the privilege of singing the National Anthem prior to his speech at a local elementary school. He was very kind when we spoke, making a point to ask about my students and commenting on the importance of music education for young people.

You’ve also been involved with MET Singers and Choral Arts Link for several years.

Shortly after moving to Nashville, I met Margaret Campbell-Holman, Director and founder of Choral Arts Link. I became involved with MET Singers and Summer Academy as an artistic associate and later began working with the non-profit in their grant writing efforts. I worked on projects such as their commissioned works initiative. This program would later produce pieces written by Tennessee composers Dr. Cedric Dent and Dr. Paul Kwami that would be premiered at The Nashville Symphony’s MLK Let Freedom Sing concert.

Accelerando is a new program – we’re revving up for auditions for our second year. What are your plans, dreams, and hopes for this special program? 

I love that Accelerando offers students valuable musical experiences that will prepare them for careers in classical music. These experiences are challenging and demanding, yet equally as rewarding for these young musicians. I am excited to see the program grow, not only in number, but also in student achievement. I can’t wait to see students from this program go on to successful collegiate experiences and later perform in professional orchestras. The Accelerando program is an example of the Nashville Symphony supporting and promoting diversity in classical music and their desire to reflect the diverse community around them. I hope this program continues to mirror the growing diversity in Nashville and Middle Tennessee and in turn mirrors the diversity in modern professional orchestras.


Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement staff: (l to r) Walter Bitner, director; Kristen Freeman, co-ordinator; Kelley Bell, program manager; Kimberly Kraft McLemore, Accelerando Manager ~ January 10, 2016

Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement staff: (l to r) Walter Bitner, director; Kristen Freeman, co-ordinator; Kelley Bell, program manager; Kimberly Kraft McLemore, Accelerando Manager ~ January 10, 2017


  1. […] Kristen, and I were thrilled to welcome Kimberly McLemore as the newest member of the EDCE department here at the Nashville Symphony. Kimberly began her […]

  2. […] We were extremely fortunate to add Kimberly McLemore to Nashville Symphony EDCE staff as Accelerand…  Kimberly’s experience as a musician and educator have already proven to be tremendous assets to our staff and her role as Accelerando’s administrator. […]

  3. […] to learn from fellows, who will join the next generation of classical musicians.” said Kimberly McLemore, Accelerando Manager. “The fellows are able to share their training with our students while gaining further […]

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