Correction: A previous version of this story misstated that the symphony's program aims to increase cultural and socioeconomic diversity among musicians. In fact, as stated on its website, the program provides opportunities for ethnically underrepresented musicians, "regardless of financial need."
The Nashville Symphony has received a $959,000 grant to fund its new music education program for underrepresented students.
The grant from the Mellon Foundation means the symphony won't have to raise as much money independently for its Accelerando initiative.
Walter Bitner oversees education and community engagement. "It's a very big deal," he says. "This grant will provide 75 percent of the funding for us to do this program for the next six years."
The goal of the Accelerando program is to train students from diverse cultural backgrounds to become professional musicians.
Starting in middle school, the students will receive year-round music lessons, training at a summer camp and free tickets to the symphony. Accelerando will also pay for travel when they audition for college music programs.
The symphony is accepting six middle school students this year. Auditions for the program are in March, and the symphony is holding informational sessions starting at the end of January.