Tenly Williams

August 15, 2008


Tenly Williams is an active contributor to the Colorado music community, performing with several orchestras and chamber music groups across the Front Range. Her career has included positions with the Binghamton Philharmonic and Fort Collins Symphony, as well as performances with the Austin Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Cheyenne Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Greeley Philharmonic and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras. Her primary chamber group is the Mountain Music Ensemble featuring guitarist James Cline.

A Colorado native, Tenly is happy to be living in Denver after completing her Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in 2001 and her Master of Music degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She has performed at numerous summer festivals around the world from Dublin, Ireland to Banff, Canada. She studied and performed at the International Festival-Institute at Round Top. Most recently, Tenly performed at the 2008 IDRS Conference in Provo, Utah, and the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, Colorado. Also an active educator, Tenly has taught students of all ages and abilities at the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, Boulder High School, Broadway Music School, Denver School of the Arts, and the University of Texas at Austin. She is also on the faculty of the Parlando School for the Arts. A commercial reed maker for Midwest Musical Imports since 2004, Tenly also presents reed making workshops.

Why did you participate in the ALP program?

I love to have variety and control in my career. I didn’t want to lock myself in the practice room for eight hours a day, or be totally dependent on winning an audition to make a living in music.

How has the Arts Leadership program helped you achieve your success?

My career is highly varied, and I do have some control over my fate. I choose where I live, knowing I can piece together several small jobs to contribute financially to my family.

What are the most important skills you gained from the ALP program?

Nothing was more important than the DIVERSITY of skills I aquired. When I interview for a job, all the major areas are covered: injury prevention, education, administration, historical perspective, and on and on.

How has the ALP influenced or changed your musical career?

I am more open to non-traditional paths for my career. I am currently working with Kindergarteners in music – something I may never have considered without taking “Classical Musicians in Public Education” with Professor Grunow.

What is the biggest obstacle classic music faces today?

I think the biggest obstacle is a lack of music education in elementary and middle schools. Without that, audience development will be nearly impossible. I hope ALP helps students learn to reach out with more than just their instruments at an evening concert. Performers have to work with administrators and educators like never before.

Where did you work as an intern and what did you gain from the experience?

Working in the RPO Ed Dept. with Roger Daily was great! I remember once we were talking about how to contact guest soloists and ask their agents to discuss educational outreach events. I said wistfully, “I hope I have an agent… someday!” He responded, “Why? You can do all of the things an agent does by yourself.” This was a major moment for me, and since then I have felt more empowered, and also more responsible for my own career.