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We’re changing the face of classical music

The mission of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative is to identify and develop gifted and motivated orchestral students from underrepresented backgrounds for acceptance into top-tier conservatory, college or university classical music programs in preparation for careers as professional musicians.

The initiative involves close collaboration and resource sharing among a diverse network of well-established non-profit Chicago youth and music-education focused organizations. Together, participating organizations work to identify talented, motivated students early in their training. Musicians selected for CMPI are carefully assessed and provided with comprehensive supports – musical and extra-musical (e.g., financial, instructional, academic, etc.) to remove many of the barriers to access that can discourage or derail the training of talented young musicians from underrepresented backgrounds before they are able to realize their full musical potential.


The Mellon Foundation

CMPI was initially made possible thanks to a major grant from the Mellon Foundation.

The Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.  To this end, it supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

A Multi-city Effort

CMPI is part of a multi-city Mellon-supported consortia with the shared goal of diversifying American Orchestras. As a major market for classical music and the third largest school district in the nation, Chicago’s CMPI is the largest ‘Pathways’ grant to date. Programs are underway in:

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