Nashville Symphony Association

Nashville, TN   |


The Nashville Symphony inspires, entertains, educates, and serves through musical performance, innovation, collaboration, and inclusion.

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Mr. Alan D. Valentine

Main address

One Symphony Place

Nashville, TN 37201 USA

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NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Nashville Symphony Classical Series

The Nashville Symphony's 2019/20 Classical Series featured a robust mixture of classical music from living American composers as well as classical Masterworks. American repertoire to be performed include works by Andrew Norman, Adolphus Hailstork, Horatio Parker, John Adams, and Charles Ives, among others. The orchestra also featured repertoire such as Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, and Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite. To view upcoming concerts, please visit:

Population(s) Served

The Nashville Symphony's 2019/20 Pops Series consisted of eight concert weekends, pairing the orchestra with musical icons such as Trisha Yearwood and Foreigner, as well as musical tributes to Don Williams, Nat King Cole, the music of Motown, and more. These performances highlight the orchestra's depth and excellence in performance across a wide variety of musical styles. To view upcoming concerts, please visit:

Population(s) Served

The Nashville Symphony offers the following educational programs:

1) Young People's Concerts, which give K-12 students the opportunity to experience the full orchestra. Programs are accompanied with in-depth, downloadable curriculum that align with state learning standards.
2) Open Dress Rehearsals invite students to observe the orchestra in action.
3) Ensembles in the Schools sends small groups of Nashville Symphony musicians to perform in schools.
4) Masterclasses and Sectional Lessons provide resources, instruction, and performance coaching for individual student musicians and small groups.
5) The Accelerando Program is an intensive education program designed to prepare gifted young students of diverse backgrounds for the pursuit of music at the collegiate level and beyond.

The Nashville Symphony engages area youth and their families through a variety of Education programs in addition to those listed above. For a full listing, visit:

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Nashville Symphony's community engagement programs connect the orchestra with people across Middle Tennessee through free concerts at Schermerhorn Symphony Center and other venues across the region. Community Concerts bring the Nashville Symphony to public parks each summer, culminating with the orchestra's annual performance for the Nashville Fourth of July celebration. The free Chamber Music Series gives audience members a chance to explore the artistry behind the music and to interact with the performers in a relaxed, casual setting. "Let Freedom Sing!" celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the ongoing impact of the Civil Rights movement. To learn more about our community engagement programs, please visit

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Affiliations & memberships

AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) 1997

ANE (Association of Nonprofit Executives) 2001

Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network 1999

National Endowment for the Arts 1987

Nashville Arts Coalition 2001

Tennesseans for the Arts 2002

Metro Arts Commission 1991

Tennessee Arts Commission 1987

International Auditorium and Arena Managers Organization 2006

Nashville Downtown Partnership 2006

Planned Giving Council of Nashville 2005

Williamson County Chamber of Commerce 2008

League of American Orchestras 1946

National Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences (NARAS) 1999

American Association of Grant Professionals 2010

Americans for the Arts 2009

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As Middle Tennessee continues to grow and transform, the Nashville Symphony will be a financially-robust, world-class orchestra fully supported and embraced by the community it serves. Key to achieving this vision, the Nashville Symphony will:

1. Become the leading orchestra for the performance, recording, and commissioning of contemporary American music.
2. Transform into an equitable and inclusive institution that is representative of the diverse community it serves.
3. Deliver visionary artistic and educational programming that excites the public, drives institutional growth, and contributes to the growth of the art form.

The Nashville Symphony's artistic vision focuses on the creation, promotion, and preservation of a distinctly American repertoire. Each year, the orchestra commissions new compositions by living American composers, preserves contemporary American repertoire through ambitious recording projects, and performs a range of works by American composers from all eras.

Along with artistic achievement, community engagement and music education are at the core of the Nashville Symphony's identity. The orchestra provides education programs and creative activities that are within reach of the entire community due to affordable ticket prices in the concert hall and free performances across the region. Our musicians and staff deliver essential arts education resources for teachers and students through performances, classroom experiences, music lessons, and standards-based curriculum. This long-term initiative connects youth and families with meaningful music learning that fills instructional gaps in arts education in our schools and inspires students to pursue a lifelong passion for music. Nashville Symphony education programs are offered at no cost to schools or students to ensure that high quality music learning is accessible to all young people in the region.

The Nashville Symphony will expand our art form and our audience by creating uniquely moving experiences, developing new artistic projects, collaborating with our community, and cultivating the next generation of artists and listeners. To accomplish this, we will bring innovative ideas and approaches to concert programming and packaging; cultivate and champion new repertoire while celebrating the history of our art form; continue developing the orchestra, the chorus, and the operational abilities and general capacity of the organization; collaborate with our community to expand our artistic capacity and audience reach; and expand and deepen the impact of our music education programs.

We will enact transformational shifts at all levels of the institution to become equitable, inclusive, and antiracist in our programming, personnel, policies, and practices. This work will be driven by purposeful self-analysis and meaningful community engagement, and it will evolve as we continue to learn and grow. In the process, our deepening commitment to EDIB will position the Nashville Symphony as a leader in our field and will provide opportunities for us to promote this work nationally. Strategies to carry out this work include: providing continuing anti-racism training for musicians, board and staff; establishing an EDIB Steering Committee; following best practices in employee recruitment, hiring, work life, and retention; conducting an internal analysis of the institution; engaging our community to identify opportunities for EDIB-informed programming shifts that can better serve the diverse population of Middle Tennessee; developing a long range plan for EDIB transformation; and developing a framework for measuring progress and holding the institution accountable to fulfilling our EDIB goals.

Through active stewardship of our resources and achieving success in our creativity, innovation, and EDIB strategies, we will engender the audience growth, engagement, investment, and support we need to create a sustainable, financially robust foundation. Our long-term sustainability will enable even greater creative and community impact. Strategies to achieve financial vitality include: maintaining balanced operating budgets through the life of the plan; build our long-range funding; maximize our largest physical asset, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, to support our artistic and community mission; and work with the Board External Affairs Committee and local government representatives to ensure the institution's interests are represented in civic dialogues and decision-making.

The Nashville Symphony's extraordinary capability to impact the lives of people across Middle Tennessee comes primarily from the talented, diverse musicians in the orchestra. We have 85 professional musicians who have trained at many of the finest conservatories across the United States, and they bring their talent and expertise to artistically excellent performances and rigorous music education programming. Leading this superb orchestra is Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. A champion of new music, Guerrero has collaborated with and conducted the music of many of America’s most respected composers, including John Adams, John Corigliano, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Michael Daugherty, Richard Danielpour, and Roberto Sierra. His expertise in this area and personal connections among American composers are important assets in the Nashville Symphony's efforts to promote, preserve, and expand the American orchestral repertoire.

In the area of education and community engagement, the Nashville Symphony benefits from powerful collaborations and partnerships with a broad network of community organizations in Middle Tennessee. The Nashville Symphony education team works directly with MNPS leadership and educators to develop high quality performances and education activities that augment music learning in local schools. The Nashville Symphony partners with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to teach students about the similarities and differences between classical and country music. We work with Conexión Américas to reach Spanish-speaking children and adults in Nashville, as well as other immigrant populations to have limited access to our city's cultural resources. The Nashville Symphony's Accelerando initiative prepares gifted young students of diverse ethnic backgrounds to pursue professional careers in orchestral music, providing them with performance opportunities, mentorship, and educational resources unique to a major American orchestra. Other education and community engagement partners include the Blair School of Music, Curb Youth Symphony, Music City Youth Orchestra, Nashville Public Library, the National Museum of African American Music, the Celebration Chorus and Celebration Youth Chorus, VSA Tennessee, and the Nashville After Zone Alliance. This wide-ranging network of collaborators and partners allows the Nashville Symphony to make a broad impact throughout the Middle Tennessee community.

During the 2019/20 concert season, the orchestra performed repertoire from nine American composers on 5 of our 9 Classical Series concerts. The season showcased what this orchestra stands for: a focus on American music, excellent performances of classical repertoire, and education and engagement programs designed to motivate and inspire listeners of all ages and backgrounds. The orchestra preserved and promoted contemporary American repertoire through five recording projects in the 2019/20 season, featuring works by John Adams, Jennifer Higdon, and Horatio Parker. The Symphony's Young People's Concerts spotlighted the work of women and African American composers, introducing young students across Middle Tennessee to Florence Price, William Grant Still, Clara Schumann, W.C. Handy, and others.

Though many events were cancelled in the spring due to the pandemic, the Symphony still reached nearly 21,000 audience members through its free Education and Community Engagement program offerings, including 18,688 students. Responding quickly to the new realities we all now face, the Symphony's leadership, musicians, and education team created more than 45 educational videos which altogether received more than 250,000 views in just a few months time.

By mid-June of 2020, our organization confronted a difficult decision. With no clear indication of how long the pandemic might last, our Board of Directors voted to postpone all scheduled program activity through July 31, 2021, and to furlough all musicians and 75% of our administrative staff. Though painful, this decision was necessary for the survival of the institution. The Nashville Symphony's active administrative staff now totals 19 people. This reduced workforce is focused entirely on keeping the Nashville Symphony operational until concert activity can resume.

The Nashville Symphony is envisioning how the institution may evolve to better meet the needs of our community following the pandemic. In the 2020/21 season, therefore, the Symphony has entered into a period of active engagement with our community's various stakeholders so that we may assess and better serve their needs in the immediate and long-term future. Whenever we are able to emerge from the pandemic, our free community programs will once again give Nashville residents barrier-free access to high-quality orchestra performances by world-class musicians. We remain dedicated to enriching the cultural life of everyone in the Nashville community.

Though many education programs have been placed on hold, the Nashville Symphony's Accelerando program will expand to serve 24 students. Students will attend regular music theory classes, private lessons, and masterclasses, maintaining their same intense studies in a virtual manner. They will receive valuable instruction from Nashville Symphony musicians and other Nashville music professionals, and the year will culminate in a public recital with solo performances from each of the students.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Nashville Symphony Association

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Nashville Symphony Association

Board of directors
as of 6/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Pamela Carter

Cummins Corporation

Term: 2020 - 2023

Edward Goodrich

Caterpillar Financial Services

Martha Ingram

Ingram Industries Inc.

Alan Valentine

Nashville Symphony President and CEO

Shirley Zeitlin

Zeitlin & Co., Realtors

Jennifer Puryear

Community Volunteer

Michael Hayes

C.B. Ragland Company

Richard Miller

Earl Swensson Associates, Inc

Mark Peacock

Mid State Pulmonary Associates

W. Phillips

Bass, Berry & Sims

Pamela Carter


Clare Yang

Nashville Symphony Musician

Brenda Griffin

Griffin Investments

Vicki Horne

Community Volunteer

Pat Murphy


Betsy Wills

Courage Capital Management

Dexter Brewer

Christ the King Church

James Seabury

Enterprise Electric, LLC

Janice Riley-Burt

Family Medicine Physician

Andrew Giacobone

Retired Executive

Orrin Ingram

William Jones

Turner Law Offices, P.C.

Robert Olsen

AutoZone, Inc (Retired)

E. Sanford

Tennessee State University

Carol Daniels

Tennessee Press Association

Derek Hawkes

Nashville Symphony

Victoria Pao

Angel Investors

Carolyn Schott

Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison PLC

Melinda Balser

Vanderbilt University

Mary Cavarra

Ingram Industries Inc.

Michelle Collins

Nashville Symphony musician

Lee Ann Ingram

Emily Humphreys

Edmund Jackson

HCA Healthcare

Laura Kimbrell

TKO Artist Management

Jeremie Papin

Nissan North America, Inc.

Karl Sprules


Mark Tillinger

Peri Widener

Cynthia Matthews

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Sandra Lipman

Remax Homes & Estates, The Lipman Group

Andy Miller

Nashville Symphony Chorus President

Steven Brown

Nashville Symphony Musician

Travis Dunn

Brown Brothers Harriman

Christopher Farrell

Nashville Symphony Musician

Keith Davis

Pinnacle Financial Partners

Rodney Essig

Creative Artist Agency

Anthony Giarratana

Giarratana, LLC

Austin Hatley

Seed Six Ventures

Amanda Kane

Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock

George Lee

Real Time Tele-Epilepsy Consultants

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/25/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/25/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.