The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced a $2.5 million grant to the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in support of a collaborative effort aimed at increasing diversity in conservatory and university instrumental music programs.
The grant will support the Boston Bridge to Equity and Achievement in Music (BEAM) initiative, a collaboration among NEC, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Community Music Center of Boston, and Project STEP focused on addressing inequities in the field of classical music. To that end, the initiative will provide sustained educational pathways and advanced preparation to Boston-area middle and high school instrumental musicians from historically underrepresented communities, with sixty to seventy-five students annually receiving private instrumental lessons, orchestral experience, chamber music coaching, music theory classes, support for summer program participation, and individual mentoring.
The grant from Mellon will underwrite the program for forty-five months, including a nine-month planning period and three full years of programming. After a process of community engagement, recruitment, and auditions, the first cohort of students will begin the program next fall.
"The BEAM partners have come together to support students of diverse backgrounds in achieving the highest levels of musicianship," said NEC Preparatory School dean and director Rebecca Bogers. "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."