Boston, MA — The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.5 million to New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), in consortium with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Community Music Center of Boston, Project STEP, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to launch the Boston Bridge to Equity and Achievement in Music (BEAM) initiative. The BEAM Initiative supports a collaborative effort to provide sustained pathways of educational opportunity and advanced preparation to Boston-area middle and high school instrumental musicians from historically underrepresented communities. Its goal is to increase diversity in conservatory and university instrumental music programs, in order to address longstanding inequities in the field of classical music.
"The BEAM partners have come together to support students of diverse backgrounds in achieving the highest levels of musicianship. With a strong commitment to diversity, equity, excellence and inclusion, each partner brings unique capabilities and experience to the collaboration. It’s been inspiring to work with all the Boston partners and with the Mellon Foundation for more than a year to develop the BEAM program, and I look forward to the continued work ahead with the students who will change the landscape of young classical musicians in Boston and beyond." ― Rebecca Bogers, Dean and Director of the NEC Preparatory School
Through the BEAM initiative, 60-75 students each year will receive private instrumental lessons, orchestral experience, chamber music coaching, music theory classes, support for summer program participation, and long-term, individual advising and mentorship. The program will be student-focused, robust, year-round, and adaptable, created and guided in equitable partnership with community representatives and with the families it serves. The Mellon Foundation’s grant will support the project’s first 45 months, including a 9-month planning period and three full years of programming. The first cohort of students will begin the new program in the fall of 2019, after a process of community engagement, recruitment and auditions to be held in the spring.