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AYA026 Creating a Music Ensemble from scratch with Celine Thackston

Celine Thackston is a self-described hybrid. A musician and art advocate that focuses on grant writing. For the modern musician, this ability to do both is not only a benefit but often required. In today’s episode Celine talks about her music journey and how she was able to carve out her own career as a flutist and a grant writing consultant.



Celine Thackston is a musician and arts advocate based in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, she serves as the founder and artistic director for chatterbird, an alternative classical chamber music ensemble. Celine is a flutist, freelancing regularly in the region with orchestras, recording artists, and chamber groups. In addition to her musical life, Celine is a skilled grant writing consultant. She coordinates grant writing efforts for clients in Nashville and around the world. Her portfolio is diverse, ranging from major cultural institutions to individual artists.

Celine has performed often with a wide array of ensembles from traditional to the avant-garde, including the New York New Music Ensemble, Pocket Opera Players, Opera Theater Oregon, Nashville Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Classical Revolution, Filmusik, and Salem Chamber Orchestra, among many others. She has a special interest in creating musical experiences that emphasize the accessibility and vitality of both contemporary and traditional classical music.

In addition to her work as a performer, she has served on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University and Fisk University, and has been a teaching artist and clinician for workshops around the United States. As a student of comedy improvisation, Celine developed workshops using improvisational theatre games, and has presented classes in free improvisation, theatre games, and creative musicianship throughout the United States. Hailed for her unconventional, fun approach to learning, she has maintained a competitive private studio for many years.

Celine completed her doctorate at the University of Oregon, with specializations in Flute Performance and Arts Administration along with a Professional Certificate in Non-Profit Management. While at the University of Oregon, Celine was a student of Grammy-winning flutist Molly Barth, a founding member of eighth blackbird. Celine holds a Master’s degree in Flute Performance with an emphasis in experimental music from the Steinhardt School at New York University. While at NYU, she studied extended techniques for the flute, as well as traditional and contemporary flute literature with flutist and composer, Robert Dick. Celine received her Bachelor’s degree with honors in Flute Performance from the University of Arkansas, where she was a student of Dr. Ronda Mains. She started her college career at the University of Alabama, where she was a student of Liana Tyson and Sheryl Cohen.


Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Musicby Angela Myles Beeching



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