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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.


Expanding Educational Horizons Through Technology

Michael Tilson Thomas (Music Director, New World Symphony) with Aalia Hanif, Accelerando student, April 2018 (click photos to enlarge)

New World Symphony & Nashville Symphony Accelerando:
A Unique Partnership

I first met Cassidy Fitzpatrick, Vice President for Musician Advancement at New World Symphony, at the 2016 League of American Orchestras Annual Conference, held that year in Baltimore, Maryland. Cassidy approached me after a session where I had spoken about the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program, introduced herself, and we made arrangements to speak soon after.

This is how a number of important projects I’ve been involved with over the last few years have germinated – through an initial “chance” meeting at a conference. That crucial first conversation has led to a robust and thrilling partnership for the Nashville Symphony Accelerando program, now entering its third year.


Accelerando: The First Year

Accelerando Class 2016-17: Aalia Hanif, Isabel Evernham, Bernard Ekwuazi, Antonio Thai, Emily Martinez-Perez, & Cedric Quinn ~ photo by Grannis Photography


As the Nashville Symphony’s 2016-17 season comes to a close, so does the first year of operation of our award-winning new Accelerando program.

Here is a brief review of highlights from our first year, including links, photos, and videos, and a look at what’s ahead as we prepare to move into our second year.


Introducing Kimberly McLemore, Accelerando Manager

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.