Walter Bitner

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My Hat

James River, Midlothian, Virginia, March 16, 2022 ~ click images to enlarge

This is my hat. If you know me personally, you probably recognize it: this has been my winter hat for about 35 years now. I bought it from a boutique in Asheville, North Carolina around 1987, give or take a year. My wife has one too, which we bought in the same store at the same time. Hers is white, mine is black. They are both made of wool, although her hat is softer than mine.

It is incredibly warm, and it fits my (big) head very comfortably, which is why I have never wanted, or worn, a different winter hat.


Off The Podium Grand Pause

As this movement of my life rapidly comes to a close and another is about to begin, I will pause from publishing new articles on Off The Podium for the rest of the summer.


The Accelerando Overture

Nashville Symphony Accelerando Ensemble under the direction of Enrico Lopez-Yañez rehearses on the stage of Laura Turner Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, June 3, 2019 (click images to enlarge)

During the first week of June 2019, the Nashville Symphony hosted the 74th annual National Conference for the League of American Orchestras. This exciting event brought approximately 1200 orchestra staff from across North America, Europe, and beyond for four days of conversations, presentations, concerts, and more.

The League’s Education and Community Engagement constituency – EDCE staff at member orchestras from across the country and beyond – is one of the most active, and it has been my privilege to participate in sessions at several previous conferences with my colleagues. As it was our turn to host these activities this year, we focused a spotlight on the Nashville Symphony’s innovative Accelerando program.


SphinxConnect 2019


At the end of January I traveled to Detroit, Michigan to attend the largest and most impactful event of its kind: the 7th annual Sphinx conference “SphinxConnect” and the the 22nd annual Sphinx Competition. This is the fourth year in a row that I spent the first weekend of February in Detroit! and it was the third year in which I was engaged to be a speaker.