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Philly’s $2.5 million youth effort to diversify classical music training

Friday, June 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Via Billy Penn


The Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth is about to announce its first set of young scholars.


In 2014, 88 percent of musicians, 84 percent of conductors and 92 percent of board members were white, according to the League of American Orchestras. The Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth wants to fix that.

Making classical music more diverse is the goal and today, the alliance — a local consortium of groups focused on offering resources for music education — will welcome its first cohort of scholars set to receive a collection of educational services well through high school. The City Hall announcement will feature remarks from Mayor Jim Kenney, as well as performances from young musicians in the inaugural class.

The first group will include 75 fifth- through 12th-graders from 10 partner organizations. The member orgs recruited students, who then had to pass an audition process. All scholars will hail from the Philadelphia area. Adam Johnston, director of strategic initiatives at Settlement Music School, said that 65 students have been picked for the program so far, with another 10 in the final stages of the selection process. Settlement, an all-ages community music academy with branches around the city, is one of the 10 partner institutions forming the alliance.

Johnston said the partnership is one of the program’s key selling points. “The kids that are most successful are the ones who have experience with not just one organization, but the whole ecosystem,” he said.

Here are the 10 participating organizations:

  • Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
  • School District of Philadelphia Office of Music Education
  • Musicopia
  • The Primavera Fund
  • Settlement Music School
  • Play On, Philly!
  • Philadelphia Sinfonia
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra,
  • Project 440
  • Temple University Music Preparatory Division

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