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 Pillars – Excellence, Interdisciplinary Experiences, Innovation, Community Connectivity, and Diversity – are highlighted here.


  • 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, allows 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 percent five years ago to 50 percent today.
  • A revitalized admissions plan including market research, new systems, rebranding, enhanced faculty involvement, and new programs leads to a 30 percent increase in entrance auditions since 2015. The 2022-23 entering class reflects a five percent increase in undergraduate yield and a six percent increase in graduate yield, while the proportion of the entering class in the highest echelon of audition scores increased by 14 percent among undergraduates since 2020 and by six percent for entering graduate students. Overall enrollment has grown 27 percent over six years to more than 750 students in the 2022-23 academic year – the Conservatory’s highest enrollment ever – while net tuition grew 56 percent over that same period.
  • Through a revamped and refined fundraising operation, Peabody’s annual fundraising for FY22 exceeds $10.7 million, its highest to date, topping its previous high of $9.7 million in FY21 and outpacing an average $5.9 million annually over the prior three years. 
  • 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.
  • More than 80 faculty appointments include renowned additions to the Voice faculty Elizabeth Futral and Randall Scarlata; Thomas Dolby leading the Music for New Media program; danah bella leading the Dance BFA; Composition faculty Du Yun, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship; trumpeter Sean Jones as Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair in Jazz Studies; renowned violinists Vadim Gluzman and Judith Ingolfsson; pianist Stephen Spooner; Richard Goode as Distinguished Artist Faculty; and Midori as Distinguished Visiting Artist. In addition, since 2020 three fully endowed faculty chairs have been established in Voice, Dance, and Professional Studies. 
  • Facilities upgrades include 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 facilities pre-studies are completed, with a trustee-approved formal feasibility study to be undertaken in FY23, 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, makes the Billboard Charts and is 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 Kevin Puts, Oscar Bettison, Judah Adashi, Du Yun, Felipe Lara, and Joel Puckett; Voice faculty Ah Young Hong, and Musicology faculty Laura Protano-Biggs and David Gutkin. Composer Michael Hersch is awarded the President’s Frontier Award and named a Gilman Scholar.
  • Underpinning Peabody’s excellence is a strong financial plan to ensure a financially sustainable and healthy model for the future and eliminate long-standing structural deficits. For FY19 through FY21, Peabody’s planned deficits hovered between six and eight percent of budget; FY22 results in a dramatically reduced operating gap of less than one percent of budget, with a plan to generate surpluses beginning in FY24.

Interdisciplinary Experiences 

  • An emerging and growing footprint at the intersection of performing arts and health focuses on 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.  
  • Performing arts wellness is embedded in the Peabody student experience with the Peak Performance Fundamentals program.
  • The Johns Hopkins Rehabilitative Network Clinic for Performing Artists expands its footprint at Peabody and now includes a multidisciplinary occupational healthcare clinic and wellness center for musicians and dancers and a research lab on the Peabody campus.
  • Peabody welcomes its first post-doctoral fellow in performing arts health, science, and education.
  • 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 faculty receive Johns Hopkins University Discovery Award interdisciplinary funding for studies 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, The Impact of Music Lessons on Parkinson’s Patients’ Well-Being, Guitar PD, Step into My Brain, and the Smart Instrument Series/Smart Guitar (patented in 2018).
  • Dean’s Incentive Grants include awards for projects researching the impact of music lessons on Parkinson’s patients and the creative brain activity involved in improvisation.
  • Peabody co-hosts inaugural sports medicine/performing arts medicine conference exploring COVID’s impact on athletes and artists.
  • Peabody and JHU expand the double degree program and launch a Directed Studies minor enabling Conservatory students’ studies across JHU divisions. Peabody partners with the Carey Business School, making a Business minor available to Conservatory students.


  • The Conservatory launches 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 June 2022.
  • The Peabody Institute assumes a leadership role as a convener of conversations across the performing arts industry by launching its 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 features presenters and panelists from across the performing arts, and in April 2022  The Next Normal: IDEAs for the Future examines 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 Conservatory Post-COVID Think Tank launches in fall 2020 to think boldly about how to prepare performing artists for a dramatically altered landscape.
  • Peabody opens 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 supports a wide portfolio of experiential and community-based learning opportunities for students.
  • The Breakthrough Curriculum, which has garnered national attention as well as philanthropic support, infuses tradition with new perspectives to create a model at the forefront of arts training in the United States, and includes a series of courses – Exploring Arts Careers, Building a Brand and Portfolio, and Pitching Your Creative Idea – where 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.
  • The Peabody Preparatory expands 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, an online pilot initiative which makes broadly available information around peak performance, injury prevention, and healthy playing and practice habits, serving as a unique offering in this critical area while building awareness and brand recognition of Peabody as a leader and innovator.
  • The Dean’s Symposium Series and Lunch & Learns highlight innovation and change in the music world and Peabody’s leadership role.
  • Dean’s Incentive Grants include 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 Launch Grants are created and award up to $5,000 to support innovative projects by Conservatory students in the “Pitching Your Creative Idea” course. Recent Launch Grant winners have included Second Movement, a free educational resource for Black student artists; Prison Pipes, incorporating meditation into singing workshops taught in prison; and Digitalizing “Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” creating an immersive experience based on a painting depicting Ming dynasty China.
  • Peabody grows its new music footprint through its Naxos recordings, expands its internationally renowned Composition department while celebrating 150 years of composition at Peabody, and launches the new music ensemble Now Hear This.

Community Connectivity 

  • The Preparatory prepares to launch an additional campus in Howard County. 
  • Peabody marks 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. 
  • The Young Artist Development Series provides residency experiences for Peabody students through new 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. 
  • The Musician-in-Residence program places Peabody students as artists-in-residence in four Baltimore senior living facilities. 
  • Peabody concerts are made free, removing barriers to access and doubling attendance.      


  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards 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. Cultural anchors the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, along with other affiliated partners, are working jointly to improve pathways for student musicians from historically underrepresented communities, building on and expanding existing Peabody Institute programs. 
  • Through the Blue Ribbon Scholarship Program and other initiatives, the BIPOC Conservatory student cohort grows to 18 percent of the total student cohort in fall 2022, more than doubling the number of BIPOC students in 2015, then 10 percent of the student cohort.
  • As part of Johns Hopkins’ new Pathways to PhD initiative, Peabody has been awarded $1 million to launch its Pathways to DMA, which aims to expand opportunities for applicants from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the DMA by providing grant funding and a defined and supported pathway for matriculation to the DMA.    
  • Following implementation of Peabody’s Faculty Diversity Plan, BIPOC faculty represent 14 percent of total Conservatory faculty in fall 2021, up from 6.5 percent five years earlier.
  • Peabody establishes the Peabody Institute Diversity Fund to ensure investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and creates its first ever Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion role.
  • Peabody receives a $1.25 million gift from JHU Trustee William H. Miller III to support 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.
  • In fall 2020 Peabody launches the Anti-racism, 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. Peabody launches the Culturally Responsive Curriculum Task Force to expand the range and depth of creative voices represented in professional training for musicians and dancers.
  • A campuswide bias survey is undertaken in spring 2021, with implementation of its recommendations underway.