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A group of talented young area musicians will again participate in the groundbreaking Accelerando music education program, which is led by members of the GRAMMY®-winning Nashville Symphony. An agreement between the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257, will enable the Nashville Symphony to continue offering the initiative, despite the continuing furlough of the orchestra’s musicians which began July 1.

“Nashville is so fortunate to have such an acclaimed orchestra, and the members of our world-class symphony are not only excellent musicians, they are true citizens of Music City who have always brought their special talents to a host of community-based efforts. They particularly cherish the time they spend with promising young musicians, so we are happy to have reached an agreement that will keep the important Accelerando program going, despite the crushing blow of the furlough,” said Nashville Musicians Association President Dave Pomeroy.

Ten middle Tennessee students are joining Accelerando this year, which will bring the program’s enrollment to a full capacity of 24 students. One of the Nashville Symphony’s cornerstone education initiatives, this program is designed to create opportunities for young musicians from underrepresented ethnicities. Participating students engage in an intensive, yearlong course of study that includes weekly lessons with Nashville Symphony musicians, supplemental music instruction, master classes and workshops, college and career counseling, and more.

“I am incredibly thankful that we are able to continue Accelerando amid the ongoing disruption of the pandemic,” said Kimberly McLemore, Director of Education & Community Engagement for the Nashville Symphony. “This agreement between the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Musicians Association ensures that these promising young students can stay focused on developing their skills and finding their voices as musicians.

“Since Accelerando began four years ago, the program has grown to include more students each year, and this year marks the first time we’ve been able to serve a full enrollment of 24 students. These new students will be welcomed by peers who have shown remarkable dedication to their studies, despite so much change over the past several months. They have adapted and adjusted and have truly taken advantage of the extra time at home to practice and improve. I am inspired and impressed by these amazing young musicians, and I am grateful to my colleagues in the Nashville Symphony who have stepped up to serve as teachers, counselors and mentors,” McLemore said.

Earlier this year, the Symphony held auditions for Accelerando, which were adjudicated by Nashville Symphony musicians and staff. The 10 new students were chosen during the summer and will begin private lessons this September. As part of the program’s intensive curriculum, each student will also participate in a youth orchestra and take master classes with leading musicians from around the country, including members of the Nashville Symphony.

All from the Nashville-Middle Tennessee region, the following students are joining Accelerando this year:

· Aidan Amphonephong is 14 years old and has been playing the trumpet for 3 years. Aidan is currently a 9th grade student at Siegel High School in Rutherford County Schools.

· Alliese Bonner is 15 years old and has been playing the flute for 4 years. Alliese is currently a 9th grade student at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

· Rajveer Chaudhury is 14 years old and has been playing the viola for 3 years. Rajveer is currently a 9th grade student at Ravenwood High School in Williamson County Schools.

· Luka Hernandez is 12 years old and has been playing the cello for 3 years. Luka is currently an 8th grade student at Woodland Middle School in Williamson County Schools.

· Annmary Pallan is 14 years old and has been playing the viola for 3 years. Annmary is currently a 9th grade student at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

· Lincoln Schaaf is 12 years old and has been playing the trombone for 2 years. Lincoln is currently an 8th grade student at Martin Luther King Academic Magnet School in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

· Smriti Shetty is 9 years old and has been playing the violin for 7 years. Smriti is currently a 5th grade student at Valor Flagship Academy in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

· Varsha Shetty is 12 years old and has been playing the violin for 7 years. Varsha is currently a 7th grade student at Valor Flagship Academy in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

· Miles Woods is 15 years old and has been playing the french horn for 5 years. Miles is currently a 10th grade student at Martin Luther King Academic Magnet School in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

· Isaiah Woodyard is 14 years old and has been playing the violin for 5 years. Isaiah is currently a 9th grade student at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

“I am grateful that the Nashville Symphony and the furloughed musicians found a way to continue the important mission of Accelerando,” said Leslie Fagan, a Nashville Symphony musician and Accelerando faculty member. “This initiative provides a special opportunity for us to teach and mentor these exceptional young musicians. It is especially inspiring and uplifting to continue this meaningful endeavor during a difficult time.”

In addition to the agreement between the Nashville Musicians Association and the Nashville Symphony, the Accelerando program’s continuation in the 2020/21 school year is made possible thanks to the partnership and collaboration of Choral Arts Link and Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.

Launched in 2016, Accelerando engages individual students over a multi-year period with extensive instruction, performance and learning opportunities and also offers students assistance with applying for collegiate music programs. This program, which has received national attention, has established the Nashville Symphony as a leader in a national movement to create opportunities for young musicians from ethnic communities currently underrepresented in American orchestras. All services are provided free of charge.


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