We are thrilled to announce the Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways Initiative, a new partnership between the Peabody Institute, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra, the DC Youth Orchestra Program, and Levine Music.

With an award of $3,000,000 in grant funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the new collaborative initiative in the Baltimore-Washington corridor will champion a collective approach to diversifying American classical music. The Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways partners—the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), the DC Youth Orchestra Program, and Levine Music—seek to transform the field of classical music through their sustained and combined efforts to support and serve young musicians from diverse backgrounds who aspire to careers in music.

The mission of the Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways (BWMP) is to prepare and support student musicians in grades 8 through 12 from communities historically underrepresented in U.S. orchestras for study at music conservatories or as music majors at four-year colleges and universities, leading eventually to professional opportunities with the country’s leading ensembles.

Through the BWMP, talented and highly-motivated students from the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas, will receive intensive, high-quality, individual instruction from the region’s leading instructors. Among the activities that students will also participate in are performing with regional youth orchestras, master classes with professional musicians from the NSO and Peabody Conservatory, side-by-sides and on-stage performing, and attending professional concerts. BWMP will offer experiential opportunities including regional convenings, summer learning and tours, coaching support, instrument support, and support for parents and families as students develop and deepen their musical learning. BWMP is excited to bring in other organizations whose missions align with the work of the collective to provide experiences and services outside of the cohort’s purview.

The 2016 landmark study by the League of American Orchestras on Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the American Orchestra Field made plain what audiences have observed of our nation’s professional orchestras: representation of Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx musicians is low.

Currently, BWMP partners offer a variety of individual programs and resources aimed at increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in classical music. These include the Peabody Preparatory’s Tuned-In program, which serves 80 students from Baltimore City and surrounding counties; the DC Youth Orchestra Program, which offers rigorous ensemble-based training to a diverse cohort of more than 600 students annually in schools and on Saturdays; Levine Music’s robust scholarship program, providing financial assistance to hundreds of students; and the NSO’s Summer Music Institute, Youth Fellowship Program, and Young Associates Program, which all operate as full scholarship programs. In providing individualized support to participants and bridging the gaps between these programs, the BWMP aims to maximize their collective impact.

“We are honored to be a part of the BWMP,” stated Levine Music CEO Peter Jablow. “Since our founding, Levine has been committed to excellence, accessibility, and providing students of all backgrounds the opportunity to study music. We look forward to supporting this transformative effort that will help shape and develop future classical musicians.”