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The Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative began its first year of programming in 2019, a year that now feels like a different world. It was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and before the racial reckoning that gripped the United States in June of 2020. Since that time, CMPI has supported 93 families and helped two classes of high school seniors gain admittance into top-tier music schools, receiving more than $10.5 million in combined financial aid offers.

In this work, CMPI is incredibly grateful to the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who is CMPI’s primary funder, as well as the Julian Family Foundation, which has provided significant supplemental support. As CMPI approaches the end of its second year, we wanted to take time to tell the stories from our first two years of programming, celebrate composers of color, and give the public an opportunity to join and support our work.

This desire led us to plan our first annual Juneteenth Celebration, which will be released via video on June 19, 2021. The celebration will feature performances by our fellows of music written by composers of color including Jessie Montgomery and Ulysses Kay, stories from our fellows and their parents about how CMPI has impacted their lives, and guest appearances from renowned bassist, educator and entrepreneur Joseph Conyers, as well as soloist and composer Xavier Foley.

Just as Juneteenth has, since 1866, honored the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, our Juneteenth Celebration will be a celebration of the positive changes that have come to the field of classical music with the increased support and representation of diverse voices.

We invite all of you to join us on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 7:00pm CST for our Juneteenth Celebration. Proceeds from the event will allow life-changing training, mentoring and financial support for some of the most promising young musicians in the greater Chicago area. Attendance is free – click here to register for the celebration. If you would like to make a gift to CMPI, please visit

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