Nina Bledsoe Knight
Dr. Nina Knight enjoys a versatile career as a non-profit leader, performer, lecturer, and educator. Performance, teaching, and speaking opportunities have taken her to concert halls, conferences, and universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Over the past five years Nina has been working with organizations centered around music advocacy in the non-profit sector.
Nina joined the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival (AICMF) in 2023 as the Executive Director. The move back to Florida is a homecoming. Her first involvement with the festival began when she was in high school. In the early years of AICMF Nina’s string quartet performed on Centre Street when the festival was in session. This gig introduced her to Beth Newdome, her future college professor at Florida State University and afforded her the opportunity to see other amazing musicians in concert and be coached by professional chamber musicians. The AICMF had a direct impact on Nina’s education and early career path. As a graduate student, she was invited to be one of the Beth Newdome Fellowship Artists in 2014 and 2015. Her experiences with AICMF as a student opened doors and led her into a chamber music career. She is thrilled to be back on the island and serving the festival in a new capacity.
Prior to moving to Florida, she was the Director of Operations of Brazos Music, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing high quality inclusive music education and facilitating access to musical opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Her creative initiatives for community engagement and her love for the next generation of music patrons led her to create a learning orchestra and a fiddle camp in Houston, Texas in 2022. She is the co-founder of Houston Orchestra for All, an intergenerational performance ensemble and educational program in Houston, TX dedicated to inclusivity and equitable music education. Her commitment to providing high quality accessible music education and facilitating musical opportunities for all is what inspires her advocacy and motivates her on a daily basis.
In addition to music education advocacy, Nina also maintains an active performance and teaching career. In recent years she has performed with the Knight-Blahulyak Duo, the Kolonneh String Quartet, the Axiom Quartet (2015-2018), Aperio-Music of the Americas, and the Texas New Music Ensemble. As a collaborative artist she has premiered works for string quartet, viola and piano, viola and cello, and viola and dance.
With over half a decade of experience teaching in higher education, Nina seeks to prepare students for more than their musical goals. Working with university students inspired her to reach out beyond the college classroom and work with musicians from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. By combining compassion, kindness, clear direction, and high quality instruction Nina provides a safe and nurturing environment in her teaching spaces.
Nina also enjoys opportunities as a guest clinician and lecturer at schools, festivals, and conferences. In recent years she has presented lectures at the Texas Music Educators Association and American String Teachers Association Conferences.
The Love to Teach and Perform
Throughout her life, her love of performing and teaching was fostered by her parents and influential music teachers. While a college student she was awarded fellowships to the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. The fellowship opportunities instilled a sense of gratitude and purpose and shaped the way Nina teaches and performs.
Performance and teaching opportunities have taken her to concert halls, universities, and festivals in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Nina maintains an active performance schedule. In recent years she has performed with local chamber ensembles including the Kolonneh String Quartet, the Axiom Quartet (2015-2018), Aperio, and the Texas New Music Ensemble in Houston, TX. As an ardent supporter of new music, she has premiered new works for string quartet, solo viola, viola and cello, and viola and dance.
In addition to performing, she enjoys opportunities as a guest clinician and lecturer at schools and festivals. Nina served as the Director of Operations for Brazos Music in Houston, TX until early 2023. She now runs a thriving teaching studio out of her home in Northeast Florida where she offers online and in-person lessons. With over half a decade of experience teaching in higher education, Nina seeks to prepare students for more than just their musical goals. Working with university students inspired her to reach out beyond the college classroom and work with musicians from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. By combining compassion, kindness, clear direction, and high quality instruction Nina provides a safe and nurturing environment for students.
Houston Viola Society
From 2017-2021 Nina served as an active board member of the Houston Viola Society. Over the years, she held a number of roles on the Executive Committee. She served as President (2018-2019) and helped the organization obtain 501c3 status, served as VP and Secretary (2019-2021), and created the marketing subcommittee for the organization in 2020.
Nina served as the Director of Operations and was the inaugural musical director and co-founder of Houston Orchestra for All and Houston Fiddle Week.