The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today continues its commitment to exceptional young musicians by awarding $1.26 million to six music education programs across the United States to increase advanced instruction and performance opportunities for talented, low-income students, ages 8 to 18.
“Using our Widening the Stage grants, these exemplary programs will give students who have the motivation and aptitude to pursue rigorous music education the pathways to achieve their dreams,” said Dr. Lawrence Kutner, the Foundation’s executive director.
“Musical talent exists in all communities,” Dr. Kutner said, “but not all communities have the financial resources to nurture that talent to its fullest potential. As young, exceptional musicians progress, private lessons, quality instruments, ensembles and summer institutes become critical, but are often financially out of reach for low-income students.”
Grant recipients in the pilot program include well-known community music schools, neighborhood-based programs and an elite summer music institute. They share a deep commitment to cultivating excellence in talented musicians, regardless of financial barriers, and are dedicating outstanding faculty to work with young artists.
“We are inspired by the passion these leaders are bringing to the Widening the Stage initiative and are eager to learn with them how to make college or conservatory a reality for talented young musicians up against significant financial hurdles,” said Emily Froimson, the Foundation’s senior director of programs.
The awards from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation range up to $250,000 apiece for the first year. Grants are renewable annually for the next three years.
Following are the six award winners for 2012:
Atlanta Music Project
(Atlanta, GA) — $122,801 to initiate the neighborhood-based Exceptional Student Program (ESP), which will provide year-round advanced music offerings and resources to 20 of its top students. ESP will offer, free-of-charge, instruments, weekly private lessons from Atlanta Music Project’s Teaching Artists, master classes, public recitals and chamber music concerts. Atlanta Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired orchestral program.
(Los Angeles, CA) — $249,918 to create the Academy, which will offer an intensive music education to 24 to 32 Harmony Project students who demonstrate exceptional talent, character, drive and musicianship. Harmony’s Academy will include year-round private lessons, theory and skills classes, master classes and chamber music coaching. Academy students, in turn, will develop leadership abilities as peer mentors providing weekly semi-private lessons to beginning and intermediate Harmony students.
Levine School of Music
(Washington, DC) — $237,500 to expand its Honors Program with advanced training, recitals, discounted or free instrument rentals, and professional development activities for 16 outstanding young musicians from disadvantaged families in Greater Washington, DC. Levine will also award scholarships to 25 intermediate-level students to prepare them for successful auditions into the Honors Program.
Merit School of Music
(Chicago, IL) — $250,000 to create a Conservatory Feeder Program that will prepare low-income students for entry into its Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. Merit will expand programming through private lessons, sectionals and the availability of quality instruments at community sites in South Side Chicago neighborhoods and increase aid for private lessons for on-site students.
Settlement Music School
(Philadelphia, PA) — $250,000 to expand its ensemble program at four diverse community sites within Philadelphia. Fifty qualifying students will be accepted into the ensemble program, while another 30 will receive year-round private instruction to prepare for successful ensemble auditions. Program activities will include master classes; string, winds, jazz and choral ensembles; solo and group performances; instrument loans; parent workshops; and leadership institutes focused on preparing for college auditions, music careers and related topics. The program will include Settlement’s first-ever touring ensemble.
Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI)
(Boston, MA) — $150,000 in support of at least 24 full- and partial-scholarships to its Young Artists Programs to be awarded to gifted music students from underrepresented ethnicities, low-income families and diverse geographical areas. BUTI provides intensive and advanced summer training programs for accomplished musicians ages 14 to 18 who have emerged as musical leaders in their home communities or ensembles.
The Foundation is a private, independent nonprofit established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help exceptional students with financial need reach their full potential through education. Foundation programs include the largest scholarships in the U.S. for community college transfer students, scholarships to college and graduate students, individualized educational support for high school students and grants to organizations that serve high-achieving students with financial need. Reflecting Jack Kent Cooke’s love for the arts, the Foundation has supported talented musicians from limited financial backgrounds through its Graduate Arts Award and scholarship programs including Young Artist Awards given to select pre-collegiate performers on the From the Top classical music radio show.
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