Accelerando Initiative Speeding up Diversity and Opportunity

by Jake Townsend

The Accelerando Initiative’s vision has finally been realized: a program for gifted young musicians from underserved communities who want a chance to make their dreams a reality. The Nashville Symphony values diversity in our nation’s musicians and directors, and this initiative is their way of upholding that ideal. This past January, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the program a $959,000 grant, which will contribute to the instruments, lessons, and performance pathways provided to accepted students.

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Set to launch in September 2016, Accelerando will engage students in grades 5–11 over a multi-year period with extensive instruction, performance, and learning opportunities, and also counseling and assistance in applying for collegiate music programs. All services are provided free of charge to participating students.

Students must fill out an application and perform a live audition, during which they will have ten minutes to demonstrate proficiency on their instrument before a panel of five symphony orchestra members. Accelerando seeks students with high levels of aptitude, family support, and musicianship. Though the deadline to apply is March 4, auditions will take place Saturday, March 12, noon to 6 p.m., at W.O. Smith Music School, 1125 8th Avenue South.


Visit for complete information about the program, eligibility, and requirements for auditioning, along with application forms. The same information may be found in Spanish at

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