September 12, 2019

CIM's Pioneering Musical Pathway Fellowship Awarded Leadership Grant

MPF fellows

The Musical Pathway Fellowship program (MPF) at the Cleveland Institute of Music has been awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant from Cleveland’s George Gund Foundation to further accelerate CIM’s leadership position in changing the face of classical music.

In addition, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) – the state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically by providing leadership and voice for the arts to transform people and communities – has approved four years of operating funding beginning in 2019 that could ultimately total more than $150,000 to support CIM’s free concert and community program offerings.

Designed for Cleveland area African American and Latinx students in grades 5-10 interested in pursuing a classical music career, MPF addresses a critical challenge impacting the field of classical music: the lack of musicians that fully represent the racial diversity of the communities classical institutions serve.

CIM launched the program to develop and nurture talent at a young age, empowering student musicians of color to pursue high-level musical training that will prepare them for a conservatory or competitive music school education. Stepping in at a crucial moment for these students and delivering world-class training and guidance is crucial to transforming the face of classical music, says CIM President and CEO Paul W. Hogle.

“The Musical Pathway Fellowship program is one way we are creating opportunities for talented young musicians of color to access high quality training while upholding an unwavering commitment to CIM’s standard of excellence,” Hogle said. “We recognize how essential it is to identify, recruit, train and graduate more young musicians of color. Focusing attention and resources on Cleveland’s talented African American and Latinx young musicians in the early stages of their musical development is one strong step toward creating a classical music future that is both inclusive and thriving.”

Generous funding for MPF has come from both the Gund Foundation and Cleveland Foundation, which, in 2018, pledged $150,000 over two years to support the program. Together, their investments have been instrumental in launching and growing this important program.   

“Diverse voices and perspectives can only make classical music stronger both today and in the future,” Hogle continued. “The Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation understand that and have been champions of CIM’s efforts to identify, recruit, train and graduate more young musicians of color.” 

Those efforts are seeing results. In fall 2019, 13% of the entering students came from historically underrepresented racial groups. Since 2016, CIM has increased the racial diversity of the entire student body by a remarkable 235% to an historic high: 15% of the 375 students.

In addition to MPF, CIM’s ongoing partnership with the Sphinx Organization directly benefits students, Cleveland-area residents and aspiring musicians through, programs including the Sphinx Performance Academy and a concert by the Sphinx Virtuosi, an elite chamber music ensemble comprised of 18 top African American and Latinx musicians who will perform at CIM in October.

As a result of funding from OAC, CIM – already one of the largest providers of free musical programs in the country – offers nearly 600 concerts a year for free to all Northeast Ohioans as part of the Institute’s commitment to engage and contribute to the civic and cultural life of the community. In addition to hundreds of campus performances, collaborations also take place at venues such as Severance Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

“The public programming CIM curates each year is essential to our valuable partnership with Cleveland and its residents. We feel privileged to play our part,” Hogle said. “The Gund Foundation, Cleveland Foundation and Ohio Arts Council each recognize CIM’s importance as a legendary, world-class institution that is proud of our standing in the community and pays our civic rent – their grants are an expression of confidence in that mission. We are profoundly grateful for their generosity and continued investment in these very important initiatives.”