Through implementation of the Breakthrough Plan beginning in 2015 and its successor, the Breakthrough Plan 2024, Peabody has enjoyed a strong trajectory of change and growth touching virtually every aspect of the institution. Advancements aligned with each of the five strategic pillars—Excellence, Interdisciplinary Experiences, Innovation, Community Connectivity, and Diversity—are highlighted here.


  • Conservatory enrollment has grown 27% to 760 students in the 2023-24 academic year—its highest ever—while net tuition has grown 53% over the same seven-year period. A revitalized admissions plan—including market research, new systems, rebranding, enhanced faculty involvement, expanded programs in Composition and Computer Music, and new programs in Dance and Music for New Media—has led to a 30% increase in entrance auditions since 2015.
  • Through a revamped and refined fundraising operation, Peabody’s fundraising has grown from an average of $6 million annually in FY18-FY20 to an average of $9 million annually in FY21-FY24. At the same time, Peabody’s endowment has grown from $70 million in FY14 to $185 million today.    
  • Michael Bloomberg’s extraordinary gift of $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University to fund undergraduate scholarships, including a $50 million contribution to fund need-based aid at Peabody, has allowed Peabody to build on investments made in recent years to increase scholarship funding, increasing the average scholarship support as a percentage of tuition from 35% five years ago to 50% today.
  • As a part of the strategic planning process involving leadership, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and volunteers, Peabody’s mission and core values were rearticulated to reflect both our deep history and innovative, forward-looking vision.   
  • A strong financial plan to ensure a financially sustainable and healthy model for the future has reduced long-standing structural deficits from an historical range of $2 million to $3 million annually to an average of $800 thousand annually in recent years. The plan is projected to generate surpluses beginning in FY25.
  • More than 80 faculty appointments have included Composition faculty Du Yun, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship; danah bella leading the Dance BFA; trumpeter Sean Jones as Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair in Jazz Studies; Thomas Dolby leading the Music for New Media program; pianists Stephen Spooner and HieYon Choi, and Richard Goode as Distinguished Artist Faculty; renowned violinists Vadim Gluzman and Judith Ingolfsson; and celebrated additions to the Voice faculty Elizabeth Futral and Randall Scarlata.  In addition, since 2020 four endowed faculty chairs have been established: one each in Voice, Dance, and Professional Studies, and a fourth commitment yet to be announced. 
  • Facilities upgrades have included the completion of Phase I of acoustical and technical improvements in Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall, led by renowned acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard. First and second phase campus-wide facilities pre-studies have been completed, and a trustee-approved formal feasibility study will be completed in 2023, all towards developing a campus plan that will include a new vision for student residences as well as increased and reconfigured programmatic space.
  • The Peabody Symphony Orchestra’s first CD on Naxos, featuring the music of Composition Professor Kevin Puts, made the Billboard Charts and was followed by a second CD featuring Director of Graduate Conducting Marin Alsop, Flute Professor Marina Piccinini, and special guest conductor Leonard Slatkin.
  • University-wide awards granted to Peabody faculty include Catalyst Awards for composers Judah Adashi, Oscar Bettison, Du Yun, Felipe Lara, Joel Puckett, and Kevin Puts; Computer Music Associate Professor Sam Pluta; Musicology faculty Jenine Brown, David Gutkin, and Laura Protano-Biggs; and Associate Professor of Voice Ah Young Hong. Nexus Awards have been granted to Director of Graduate Conducting Marin Alsop, Jazz Assistant Professor Richard Johnson, and Composition Associate Professor Felipe Lara. Composer Michael Hersch was awarded the 2017 President’s Frontier Award and is a Gilman Scholar.
  • Faculty career initiatives can receive additional funding from Peabody through the Dean’s Excellence Accelerator Awards, launched in 2023.
  • A fully redesigned faculty governance system includes an evaluation system, implementation of regular departmental external reviews, enhanced chair roles, and implementation of a non-tenured rank and promotion system.

Interdisciplinary Experiences 

  • Peabody’s first Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Kris Chesky, holds a joint appointment with the School of Medicine and is charged with establishing a research lab at Peabody and new programs in performing arts health, science, and education. His work will build on a growing Peabody footprint at the intersection of performing arts and health, encompassing health for performing artists as well as engagement with the performing arts to enhance well-being. The effort comprises more than 70 partners across the university including healthcare providers, researchers, biomedical engineers, therapists, musicians, dancers, and educators.  
  • Established in 2018, the Johns Hopkins Rehabilitative Network Clinic for Performing Artists at Peabody—the first clinic of its kind to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services on a premier conservatory campus—provides multi-disciplinary care for musicians and dancers. 
  • Performing arts wellness has been embedded in the Conservatory student experience with the Peak Performance Fundamentals program.
  • Peabody partners with Johns Hopkins Hospital to bring the arts into healthcare, offering musician visits at patient bedsides through the Sound Rounds program, and providing daily live music in public spaces throughout the hospital campus through the Music for a While program.
  • Peabody co-hosted an inaugural sports medicine/performing arts medicine conference exploring COVID’s impact on athletes and artists.
  • Peabody faculty received Johns Hopkins University Discovery Award interdisciplinary funding for projects including Identifying Psychedelic and Non-Psychedelic Music Elements for Psilocybin Research; Side-by-Side Singing for Improvement in Quality of Life for Dementia Patients and their Caregivers; filming the first documentary about women conductors; Experiencing Depressive Brain with Virtual Reality; the Billie Holiday Project: Bridging Art, Local History and Community Wellness; Discovering the Benefits of Interactive Music on Fine Motor Control Therapy; Contact Sensor Design and Processing for Improved Perceptual Sound Pickup of the Double Bass; and the Smart Instrument Series/Smart Guitar (patented in 2018).
  • Dean’s Incentive Grants have included awards for projects researching the impact of music lessons on Parkinson’s patients and the creative brain activity involved in improvisation.
  • Peabody has expanded the double degree program and launched a Directed Studies minor enabling Conservatory students’ studies across JHU divisions. A partnership with the Carey Business School makes a Business minor available to Conservatory students.


  • The Breakthrough Curriculum, a reimagined model of career- and community-focused performing arts training which has garnered national attention as well as philanthropic support, has been integrated into every Conservatory student’s Peabody education. Courses including Exploring Arts Careers, Building a Brand and Portfolio, and Pitching Your Creative Idea help students develop skills in communication, programming, audience development, entrepreneurship, and citizen artistry, as well as a digital portfolio with which they can propel their careers upon graduation.
  • Peabody opened LAUNCHPad, a 21st-century vision for career services that ensures the integration and practical application of the Breakthrough Curriculum into long-term career objectives. LAUNCHPad provides comprehensive services helping students and recent alumni forge satisfying, successful careers.
  • Peabody Launch Grants were created to provide real-world funding for the innovative projects envisioned by Conservatory students in the Pitching Your Creative Idea course. Recent Launch Grant awards of up to $5,000 have supported winners including Second Movement, a free educational resource for Black student artists; and Digitalizing “Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” creating an immersive experience based on a painting depicting Ming dynasty China.
  • The Conservatory launched a low-residency master’s degree program in Composition—combining a full academic year of online learning with two brief on-campus summer sessions—in 2022.
  • The Peabody Institute assumed a leadership role as a convener of conversations across the performing arts industry by launching our Next Normal national symposium series in February 2021 with The Next Normal: Arts Innovation and Resilience in a Post-COVID World, a day-long event focused on the long-term impact of the pandemic, the path forward for the industry, and implications and opportunities for artists and arts institutions. The Next Normal 2.0: Flexibility is the Future in November 2021 featured presenters and panelists from across the performing arts, and in April 2022  The Next Normal: IDEAs for the Future examined racial equity and inclusion in the performing arts. The Next Normal series has garnered more than 1,600 participants to date from across the field.
  • The Peabody Preparatory has expanded beyond its longstanding core programs, launching in fully remote formats Peabody Plus—Music and Dance Classes for Adults; Peabody Prescribe—Arts for Health and Well-Being; and Peabody Pro—Professional Development for Artists. Programs include Playing Well, a series of online courses about peak performance, injury prevention, and healthy playing and practice habits—a unique offering in this critical area.
  • Convened and moderated by Peabody thought leaders, the Dean’s Symposium Series and Lunch & Learn Series invited guests from across the industry to highlight innovation and change in the music world.
  • Dean’s Incentive Grants have included funding a podcast series exploring social issues for musicians; the launch of Voices Rise, a street choir in Baltimore; and Peabody’s first hip-hop class.
  • Peabody has grown our new music footprint through our Naxos recordings and expanded our internationally renowned Composition department while celebrating 150 years of composition at Peabody.

Community Connectivity 

  • As part of the opening of Johns Hopkins’ new home in Washington, D.C., at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, Peabody plans an inaugural series of concerts throughout the 2023-24 academic year.   
  • The Preparatory has expanded with new campus locations in Howard County and in Frederick. 
  • The Musician-in-Residence program places Peabody students as artists-in-residence in four Baltimore senior living facilities. 
  • The Young Artist Development Series provides residency experiences for Peabody students through partnerships with community arts organizations in El Paso, Texas, and Mesa, Arizona.
  • A roster of partnerships places Peabody performers throughout Baltimore at events and locations including Light City Baltimore, RiseBmore, UMBC, the Walters Art Museum, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library
  • Peabody marked the Bernstein Centennial with a production of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, performed for 3,000 attendees at Baltimore’s New Psalmist Baptist Church, conducted by Marin Alsop and featuring the Morgan State University Choir and other community partners. 
  • Peabody concerts were made free in 2016, removing barriers to access and doubling attendance. 


  • As part of Johns Hopkins’ new Pathways to PhD initiative, Peabody has been awarded $1 million to launch our Pathways to DMA, which aims to expand opportunities for applicants from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the DMA.    
  • The inaugural Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—a newly created Executive-level role—was hired in December 2022.
  • Through the Blue Ribbon Scholarship Program and other initiatives, the BIPOC Conservatory student cohort has grown to 17% of the total student cohort in fall 2023, more than doubling the number of BIPOC students in 2015, then 10% of the student cohort.
  • Following implementation of Peabody’s Faculty Diversity Plan, BIPOC faculty represent 15% of total Conservatory faculty in 2023, up from 6.5% six years earlier.
  • Peabody Premieres, dedicated to recording and preserving music of underrepresented composers, was launched in 2023.
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Peabody a multi-year grant of $1 million to support the inaugural Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways (BWMP) collaborative which seeks to diversify the landscape of the American classical music field.
  • $1.25 million gift from JHU Trustee William H. Miller III has strengthened Tuned-In, the Preparatory’s program designed to create early access to high-level music study for underrepresented students in Baltimore. Tuned-In was established in 2007 with six students and has grown to more than 100 students today.
  • The Culturally Responsive Curriculum Task Force was charged with expanding the range and depth of creative voices represented in professional training for musicians and dancers. A Conservatory-wide benchmarking initiative to track and diversify the creative voices represented in music and dance performed and studied at Peabody was begun in 2023.
  • A campus wide bias survey was undertaken in 2021; implementation of its recommendations is under way.
  • In fall 2020 Peabody launched the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee with a charge to oversee, advise, and ensure transparency and accountability for ongoing and new efforts in anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion at Peabody. The Peabody Institute Diversity Fund was established to ensure investment in this work.