In addition to performing, Andy Bliss is a devoted music educator. Andy has made a practice of regularly working with younger composers, performers, and scholars, encouraging inquisitive modes of musical questioning and sustained collaboration with future generations. He is the Artistic Director of Nief-Norf, whose summer festival is now in its eighth year; there he performs, teaches, and conducts while curating a dozen concerts annually. The festival serves as a yearly contemporary music retreat, where more than fifty international participants enjoy an immersive environment of collaboration, experimentation, and support. Additionally, since 2011, Andy has served as the Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Tennessee, where he founded the Ensemble Knox (resident chamber percussion group), the UT Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the UT Contemporary Music Festival.
Andy has presented recitals, lectures, and masterclasses at the Northern Illinois University New Music Festival, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy (NCPP), Association for Technology in Music Instruction’s (ATMI) National Conference, and the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, and has held residencies at the Universities of Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Carolina, and many others. He currently serves the Percussive Arts Society as a member of the New Music Research committee and is the Immediate Past President of the PAS Tennessee Chapter. Bliss has served on the adjudication jury for both the Music for All National Percussion Festival and the PAS International Percussion Ensemble Competition, and his method book Multitudes (Innovative Percussion) is a widely used pedagogical resource nationally. As a member of the Knoxville community, Bliss spends two weeks annually touring the UT Steelband and Brazilian Ensemble to Knox County public schools, fusing live performance with cultural and historical community engagement.
Andy is an active concert curator. He regularly programs concerts for the Nief-Norf Summer Festival - a two week festival with over a dozen concerts, as well as the University of Tennessee's Percussion Studio and Contemporary Music Ensemble. In 2016, he was invited to curate six concerts for the Percussive Arts Society International Convention's "Focus Day." 2016's theme was entitled "Celebrating the European Avant-Garde" and featured an international line-up of artists. Additionally, he curates a series of concerts at Big Ears Festival each year via the nief-norf Project.