August 22, 2014: Introduction

Welcome to the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Having only just arrived in Baltimore at the beginning of June, I have spent these last few months on a listening tour, learning about Peabody, its history, many strengths, and opportunities. I continue to meet truly dedicated people and have enlightening conversations on our campus in the historic Mt. Vernon area of Baltimore, across the region and country, and as far away from campus as Korea and Taiwan, where I recently had an opportunity to meet with many alumni.

One thing is crystal clear – there is enormous passion and pride in this school, and rightfully so. Part of that passion stems from Peabody’s remarkable history, a history that began in 1857 making Peabody the oldest conservatory in the United States. I was reminded about this history most recently by cellist and faculty member Amit Peled who will perform on February 12, 2015, on the Casals cello, the very program that Pablo Casals himself played at Peabody on February 12, 1915, exactly one hundred years earlier. Two things occurred to me – what a wonderful idea, and what an extraordinary history!

And Peabody’s faculty continues to make new history. The world premiere of composition chair Michael Hersch’s first opera On the Threshold of Winter in New York in June was met with critical acclaim at the national level. Brought to life by voice faculty member Ah Young Hong, the opera was the subject of major preview pieces in The New York Times and The Baltimore Sun. The Times’ review noted the work demonstrated “an art fired by empathy and compassion” and referenced Hong’s “soul-baring, courageous performance.”

Looking forward, our focus this fall and throughout the coming school year will be to welcome new students and returning ones and to provide these young musicians with an outstanding musical training experience. At the same time, we must foster a dialogue about the evolving and ever-changing environment for classical music and education in the world, and how this impacts the training of young musicians. Given Peabody’s history, we are uniquely positioned to lead this discussion. We recognize that preparing young artists for tomorrow’s world requires musical and artistic sensibility infused with a sense of community connectivity. And as part of Johns Hopkins University, we have the opportunity to lead discovery and discussion around the unique role that music plays as it interacts with other disciplines and with the world.

Whether you are an alumnus, current or prospective student, faculty or staff, a member of the community, or just curious and interested in learning more, we welcome you to The Peabody Institute’s special place in Mt. Vernon, at Johns Hopkins University and in the music world.


Fred Bronstein
The Peabody Institute