$959,000 Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awarded to Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando Program

January 12, 2016
Funding to provide music education resources for gifted young musicians from underrepresented communities
Nashville, Tenn. (January 12, 2016) – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $959,000 grant to provide major funding for the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando music education initiative over the next six years. Open to students in grades 4-10, Accelerando is designed to prepare gifted young musicians from underrepresented communities to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond.
“This grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation represents a major investment in providing talented Middle Tennessee students of diverse backgrounds with access to high-quality arts education,” said Alan D. Valentine, Nashville Symphony president and CEO. “For our orchestra to remain relevant to our community, we must ensure that it reflects the community’s full richness and diversity. This is the guiding principle behind Accelerando, and funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will play a critical role in making this possible.
“We are deeply honored to be recognized by the Foundation, which has been instrumental in shaping cultural life in the United States over the past five decades,” Valentine added. “Today, arts organizations across the country are confronting the very same questions that we face in Nashville, and this grant affirms that the Accelerando program has the potential to make a meaningful impact on our community and beyond.”
Set to launch in September 2016, Accelerando will engage individual students over a multi-year period with extensive training, performance and learning opportunities, and will also offer guidance, counseling and assistance in applying for collegiate music programs. Participants will be selected through an audition process and will receive year-round instruction from a Nashville Symphony musician or a highly qualified local instructor, along with summer workshops, camps and classes.
“Since its founding in 1946, music education has been at the core of the Nashville Symphony’s mission,” said Walter Bitner, the Symphony’s director of education and community engagement. “The Accelerando program represents a significant opportunity for our institution to deepen that mission. By providing extensive instructional resources and mentorship to dedicated young music students over the course of their educational careers, we believe that we can help to shape the next generation of orchestra musicians.”
The Nashville Symphony is honored to partner with Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Conexión Américas and Choral Arts Link in making Accelerando available to the Middle Tennessee community.


Public Invited to Learn More About Accelerando

The Nashville Symphony will host a series of open meetings in January and February to inform students and their families about Accelerando. Fourth- through 10th-grade students who are from underrepresented communities and pursuing serious music study are encouraged to attend. Meetings will take place at the following community locations:
Saturday, January 30, 10 am-noon: Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 1 Symphony Place
NOTE: Limited parking is available for this meeting. Please call 615.687.6587 or email [email protected] to reserve a space.
Tuesday, February 2, 6-7 pm: Creswell Middle Arts Magnet, 3500 John Mallette Dr.
Thursday, February 4, 6-7 pm: Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike
Tuesday, February 9, 6-7 pm: Oliver Middle School, 6211 Nolensville Rd.
Students interested in participating in Accelerando must fill out an application form and perform a live audition. Auditions will take place Saturday, March 12, noon-6 pm, at W.O. Smith Music School, 1125 8th Ave. S.
Visit NashvilleSymphony.org/accelerando for complete information about eligibility and requirements for auditioning, along with application forms.
The same information may be found in Spanish at NashvilleSymphony.org/accelerando-espanol.
For more information, contact the Nashville Symphony’s Education & Community Engagement Department at [email protected] or 615.687.6587.