Planning Phase

Last Updated: August 14, 2020

In the fall of 2018, Walter Bitner invited organizations and individuals interested in forming a network dedicated to the advancement of youth classical musicians of color. As the Director of Education for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra at the time, Mr. Bitner was instrumental in launching the orchestra’s Accelerando program with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Building upon Walter’s idea to create a network, Stanford Thompson proposed building a national association of organizations and individuals that would align resources and collaborate on strategies along the pathway musicians of color travel from their early years through formal training at the collegiate level to a career as a professional classical musician.

Once established, the National Instrumentalist Mentoring and Advancement Network (working title) would represent over a year of planning, meetings, and an in-person convening in order to create a formal mechanism that could create added value to the trajectory of classical musicians of color throughout the United States by everyone working together to achieve shared goals.

This page will be updated each quarter with additional information pertaining to the planning and development of NIMAN. Questions or comments can be directed to the volunteers helping to launch this initiative:

Briefing Documents
Case for Founding / Briefing Paper
Getting Started Developing a Formal Network
Bridge Plan Genesis and Overview
Bridge Plan Concept
Bridge Plan Matrix

Minutes of Exploratory Meetings
February 3, 2018 Undergraduate Admissions DEI Conversation
December 6, 2018 NIMAN Meeting
January 10, 2019 NIMAN Meeting
January 31, 2019 NIMAN Meeting
Atlanta Symphony Building Bridges Symposium Report / Appendix

Minutes of Fall 2019 Working Group Meetings
By-Laws Working Group Meeting – September 30, 2019 
Implementation Group Meeting – October 7, 2019 
Implementation Group Meeting – October 11, 2019 
Program Group Meeting – September 30, 2019 
Program Group Meeting – October 9, 2019 
Ratification Group Meeting – October 21, 2019 
Ratification Group Meeting – November 4, 2019 

2019 NIMAN Convening Information and Report
Convening Packet / Packet Addendum 
Convening Report – November 15-16, 2019 
Post-Convening Informational Webinar Minutes 

Minutes and Actions of the Leadership Group
Leadership Group Meetings – November 6 & 13, 2019 
Leadership Group Meeting – January 21, 2020 
Leadership Group Meeting – March 20, 2020 
Leadership Group Meeting – July 24, 2020

2019 NIMAN Convening Participants
Photo by Mark Lyons

We are grateful for the time, energy and expertise of the following individuals who volunteered for a working group:

Leadership Group: Serving as a steering committee, this group will guide the overall process and help make key decisions as needed.

Lucinda Ali-Landing – Hyde Park Suzuki Institute
Rebecca Bogers – New England Conservatory
Abra Bush – The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University
Jonathan Martin – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Richard Scerbo – National Orchestral Institute
Edgar Smith – World Pac Paper, LLC
Adrienne Thompson – Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative
Stanford Thompson (leader) – Play On Philly
Hilary Dow Ward – Sewanee Summer Music Festival
Charles Grode – Merit School of Music
Toni Paz – Independent Fundraising Professional
Carol Dunevant – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Program Group: Building upon ideas vetted in previous meetings, this group will identify and budget 2-3 initiatives that can be pursued in the pilot year(s).

Kimberly McLemore – Nashville Symphony, Accelerando
Hilary Dow Ward (leader) – Project 440
Angelica Durrell – INTEMPO
James Hall – Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative
Ahmad Mayes – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Jerrod Price – Cleveland Institute of Music

By-Laws Group: Draft mission, vision and values statements and by-laws for the new association.

Carol Dunevant – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Charles Grode (leader) – Merit Music School
Jazmin Morales – Colburn School
Weston Sprott – The Juilliard School

Ratification Group: Draft definitions of membership, membership dues structure, profile of an Executive Director, and also processes by which members would vote to ratify the by-laws, elect board members and board composition.

Hilary Dow Ward – Project 440
Quanice Floyd – Arts Education in Maryland Schools
Garrett Lefkowitz – Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Toni Paz (leader) – Independent Fundraising Professional

Implementation Group: Draft how the new association would get itself open, hire staff, raise money, and begin to serve our members.

Carol Dunevant (leader) – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Lee – DC Strings Workshop
Maria Mathieson – Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University
Richard Scerbo – National Orchestral Institute
Ciyadh Wells – Margins Guitar Collective