Walter Bitner

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Blair School of Music: Adult Summer Chamber Music Institute 2018

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Adult Chamber Music Institute 2017, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville


Following up on their success last summer, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music will host the second Adult Summer Chamber Music Institute in July. This special four-day program is the only one of its kind in our area (as far as I know) – a unique opportunity for adult amateur string players to come together and make music in an intimate setting with the guidance of some of the finest string music educators in Nashville.

Adult Summer Chamber Music Institute
July 12 – 15, 2018
Blair School of Music
Vanderbilt University, Nashville

This program is for string players only: violin, viola, and cello.

Cost: $475 for four days of music-making in chamber groups. Daily events will include plenary sessions on technique, reading sessions, and master classes along with coaching and chamber group rehearsal sessions. There will also be a faculty recital, and final celebratory concert. (Food and lodging not included.) Apply here on the Vanderbilt website. The application deadline is June 15, 2018.

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Stephen Miahky

Coaching and instruction at the Adult Summer Chamber Music Institute will be provided by Blair School of Music string faculty Stephen Miahky (violin), Jessica Blackwell (violin), Christina McGann (viola), and Kirsten Cassel Greer (cello) – all veteran chamber players in addition to their activities as teachers and performers.

Violinist Stephen Miahky is the Joseph Joachim Professor of Violin at Blair and first violin of the Blair String Quartet. Stephen has performed as a recitalist and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe, and spends much of the summer as a resident artist at the Walla Walla (Washington) Chamber Music Festival, as well as teaching at the Montecito International Music Festival in Riverside, California.

“We are greatly looking forward to the second Adult Chamber Music Institute at the Blair School of Music.” said Stephen. “We weren’t entirely sure what to expect, as in any venture, in our first year, but we were thrilled with the enthusiasm, commitment, and seriousness of our first participants.  The exploration of chamber music always brings wonderful discussions to the forefront between the participants and the faculty, and we are excited to continue this in our second year.”

There are no pre-established criteria or expectations for a particular level of accomplishment for participants – the application includes an opportunity for the applicant to indicate their their repertoire, experience, and other details, and participants will be placed in appropriate ensembles according to ability and inclination.


Jessica Blackwell

Jessica Blackwell, who will also be teaching violin and coaching ensembles at the Adult Summer Chamber Music Institute, is well-known to Nashville music-lovers. Not only does Jessica play in the Nashville Symphony, this indefatigable musician is concertmaster of both the Nashville Philharmonic and Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and teaches both at Blair and in the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program.

“Last year’s Institute was a great success, much in part due to the participants.” said Jessica. “The musicians who participated were so open and eager to learn, and their energy really inspired me. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to interact and play with these musicians-  it really refreshes my perspective and I inevitably end up learning an incredible amount from them. This is why I am so looking forward to this year’s Institute. I am also happy for the chance to collaborate with the Institute’s other faculty members, some of the best that Blair has to offer.”


Christina McGann

Christina McGann will join Stephen and Jessica on the Institute’s faculty this summer coaching viola. Christina is adjunct artist teacher of violin at Blair and concertmaster of the Nashville Opera, and has been a featured performer at the Kennedy Center and various venues throughout the U.S, Europe, Asia and South America. An avid educator, McGann began her teaching career as a Juilliard Morse Fellow, a program that takes Juilliard student educators into public school classrooms on a weekly basis.


Kirsten Cassel Greer


Cello coaching at the Institute will be provided by Kirsten Cassel Greer, who teaches Suzuki and precollege cello at Blair. She performs regularly with The Atlantic Ensemble both nationally and internationally, and frequently with the Nashville Symphony. Committed to teaching the next generation of musicians, Kirsten has completed extensive Suzuki pedagogy studies with the finest educators in the field.

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