Walter Bitner

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Tag Archives: Young People’s Concerts

Summer Education Internship at the Nashville Symphony

from my instagram feed, May 27, 2015: Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement Staff and Interns, Summer 2015

from my instagram feed, May 18, 2015: Nashville Symphony Education & Community Engagement Staff and Interns, Summer 2015

“The internship experience at the Nashville Symphony has been a dream come true.” says Margie Way-Kiani, one of our summer interns.  “I’ve aways wanted a behind-the-scenes view of how the Nashville Symphony functions so successfully, and now I’ve had a small taste of that through the Education & Community Engagement Department.”

One of the Nashville Symphony’s many education programs, our internships provide opportunities for college students to gain experience working at not only a major American orchestra, but also the largest performing arts nonprofit in the state of Tennessee.  Typically, an internship lasts a semester and is offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer, following the usual academic calendar.  This summer, the symphony is hosting an intern each in our Operations, Development, and Human Resources departments, and four interns in Education & Community Engagement.


Nashville Symphony: Your Community. Your Orchestra.

music director Giancarlo Guerrero speaks about the symphony's role in the community in Nashville Symphony: Your Community. Your Orchestra.

music director Giancarlo Guerrero speaks about the symphony’s role in the community in Nashville Symphony: Your Community. Your Orchestra.

I’m pleased to be able to share with you the music education advocacy video that was produced by our Communications team and Mogulboys this Spring – it is now publicly available on Youtube (see below).  The video has already been viewed by thousands of symphony patrons since the beginning of May, including screenings at the annual Fashion Show on May 5 and before our many movie concerts in the hall during the month of June.

Nashville Symphony: Your Community. Your Orchestra features the symphony’s conductors and musicians both describing our organization’s commitment to music education as well as sharing personal anecdotes about the importance of music education in the life of the community.


Nashville Symphony Formalizes Partnership With NSA

from my Instagram feed: NSA dancers wait for their cue during a performance of Swan Lake with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn, February 11, 2015

from my Instagram feed: NSA dancers wait for their cue during a performance of Swan Lake with the Nashville Symphony at Schermerhorn, February 11, 2015

This week Nashville Symphony Education staff met with Oceana Sheehan, Assistant Principal of Nashville School of the Arts, and Bob Kucher, Director of Secondary Partnerships and Programs at the PENCIL Foundation, to formalize the partnership between the symphony and the school.  It was a relatively simple process and in fact a pleasant one: we filled out some paperwork and discussed our plans for the ongoing collaboration between the two institutions next season.

Although not existing “on paper” until now, the symphony and NSA have in fact had a rich and dynamic partnership for several years now: both institutions collaborate on many events and projects throughout the year that occur both at Schermerhorn and at the school’s campus on Foster Road.


One on a Part

Or, Making Lemonade at the Symphony

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When the ice storm hit Nashville in February 2015, schools were closed for more than a week.  Two weeks later – at the beginning of March – schools were closed again for a snow storm.  As a result, the Nashville Symphony had to cancel three mornings of Young People’s Concerts at Schermerhorn and a run-out concert to a local high school: we missed 7 performances, which would have put the orchestra in front of around 10,000 students total.

When the weather had passed and all the staff were able to get back in the hall at the same time we held a meeting to comb the calendar for the possibility of making up these canceled events – our Young People’s Concerts (YPCs) are the symphony’s flagship education program, an important component in the execution of our education mission.  Usually these concerts are scheduled more than a year in advance, due to the difficulty in finding times when the availability of the orchestra, the conductor, scheduled guest artists, the MNPS school calendar, and the hall all line up and allow time not only for performances but rehearsals also.  Young People’s Concerts are written into the initial schedule for the orchestra each year for this reason – it’s nearly impossible to find adequate dates and times when all these elements align mid-season.

And so it proved.


Postscript: A Day at the Hall

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March 19, 2015

6:27 am: as I drink my morning tea I check the Newschannel5 website to see if they have posted their story on the Suzuki program yet – Dave told me it was going to air yesterday but I didn’t have the opportunity to see it.  It’s there! 

School Patrol: Students Learn Suzuki Violin Method

I hastily put together a short postscript to my post from two weeks ago before I get off the couch and prepare for another day at the hall

This is a postscript to A Day at the Hall

A Day at the Hall

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

6:56 am: drive into town in pouring rain and heavy traffic – listen to Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96 and drink my coffee on the way in

7:37 am: after walking to the hall from the parking lot a block and a half away, enter through the stage door and make my way up to my office: nobody else is here yet – take a few minutes to begin this blog post

7:54 am: change into my suit


note Maestro Giulini on my office wall looking over my shoulder

8:05 am: there is still nobody here so I pose for a quick suit selfie to insert here later

8:10 am: sit quietly for a few minutes

8:30 am: Education & Community Engagement Program Manager Kelley Bell arrives and we head down to a kitchen on the second floor to prepare what seems like a vast amount of coffee for the volunteers who will arrive shortly to help us this morning.  Since neither of us have done this before we manage to make a bit of a mess (which we clean up as best we can) and only acceptable coffee, but we finally make our way with the cart down to the West Atrium where several volunteers are waiting.  After some rearranging of tables and conferring with the volunteers and members of security staff (who will help with traffic flow for the buses full of elementary school students that are about to arrive), everything seems ready so I head backstage to try to catch concertmaster Jun Iwasaki before the buses pull in.  Luckily I run into Jun in the hall and we hold a brief meeting in his dressing room about a program we are planning together for May.  I stop by the Green Room to check on our guest artists for today’s concerts (more about them later), then I head back towards One Symphony Place where the first buses are beginning to pull in – it’s now about 9:45 am.