September 21, 2022

CIM strengthens diversity push with expanded 2022-23 Musical Pathway Fellowship

MPF students outside of CIM

CIM’s Musical Pathway Fellowship (MPF) entered a bright new era this month, re-launching with its largest class to date and a dramatically broader conceptual vision.

Following successful auditions this summer, the racial barrier-dashing program accepted 18 students from all over Greater Cleveland, at least twice as many as usual. The new class is also the youngest to date, with students ranging in age from 6 to 16.

“We realized that if we want to break down the walls keeping kids from experiencing classical music at a high level, we had to start earlier,” said Jennifer Call, associate dean of preparatory and public programs at CIM.

That’s not all. To further support MPF students this year and going forward, CIM appointed Rodrigo Lara Alonso as a guitar instructor and MPF faculty advisor.

In this capacity, Alonso will form and interact with a dedicated new MPF Community Advisory Board and serve as the primary liaison between CIM and MPF families, a group he said will be strong and close-knit.

“Probably the best thing about MPF is the opportunity to be part of a community – of students, parents and teachers,” Alonso said. “The dedication required to succeed in music can make for an isolating experience, but with our Pathway Fellows, we’re all in this together.”

The goal of the MPF program is to promote greater diversity in classical music by identifying and training talented young Black and Latinx musicians at CIM.

Since the program’s founding in 2017, all participants have received full tuition scholarships. Now, starting this year, all are full members in CIM’s Youth Program or the Academy, CIM's comprehensive new model for pre-college musical training.

In this way, like all Academy students, MPF scholars will receive weekly private lessons with CIM faculty as well as ensemble experience, conservatory student and staff mentorship, and training in music theory and Eurhythmics. In addition, CIM will provide material and logistical support to ensure the success of each MPF student.

The Musical Pathway Fellowship is supported by major funding from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Hershey Foundation, KeyBank Foundation, the David and Inez Myers Foundation and the WC & EJ Thornton Foundation. More information about the program can be found here.

“We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to see all our students thrive and be musically challenged,” Call said. “We won’t let anything stand in the way of our students being the very best they can be.”


  • Princess Anno-Firempong (violin)
  • Danelis Cedeño (guitar)
  • London Duncan (piano)
  • Nicholas Garrett (clarinet)
  • Brandon Hayes (composition)
  • Reine Hinton (double bass)
  • Erica Lopez (viola)
  • Nicholas Lustri (piano)
  • Victoria Lustri (piano)
  • Catalina Lustri (piano)
  • Luna Marquez-Potts (cello)
  • Jaden Mills (double bass)
  • Laurien Palmer (voice)
  • Travis Phillips (double bass)
  • Kiana Pierce (cello)
  • Arielle Simler (piano)
  • Mari Uchino-Garcia (voice and clarinet)
  • Maya Uchino-Garcia (cello)