Tennessee State University, Nashville Opera partner to bring masterclasses to music students

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 16:57:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Music majors at Tennessee State University may be making their dreams of performing with world-renowned entertainers closer to reality thanks to a new partnership between TSU and the Nashville Opera.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the partnership will launch a digital masterclass series in performance, music industry and arts management.

NEA said the Nashville Opera will receive $25,000 to fund the digital masterclass series with TSU beginning September and will be free to the public through live streams.

Professionals from the Nashville Opera will present masterclasses that bring renowned musical artists to TSU students. The university will also lead in coordinating with other historically black colleges and universities to participate in the virtual educational experience.

“This is just the kind of opportunity I am always looking for,” says Isiah Batey, a senior and Nashville native who wants to be a professional singer. “Traveling around the world and sharing my talent.”

Inspired by opera singers like Luciano Pavarotti, Renee Fleming and Jessye Norman, Batey says the new partnership will give TSU students like him the opportunity to learn from professionals who are in the music industry.

Dr. Robert L. Elliott, professor and chair of the TSU Department of Music, says the new joint venture is a continuation of the long-standing partnership with the Nashville Opera that will better position TSU and other HBCU students for success in a digital, virtual world upon graduation.

The Nashville Opera’s relationship with TSU spans more than a decade and includes such activities as presentations of masterclasses, free student tickets to performances, and Opera 101 lectures for the Department of Music.

"We are deeply grateful for this support from the National Endowment for the Arts,” says John Hoomes, Nashville Opera CEO and artistic director. “It helps us do the important work of creating more equity in our art form.”

For more information on the music program at TSU, visit []