March 6, 2018: Quarterly Update

I am writing to update you on a number of important developments and initiatives at Peabody as we approach the half-way point in the spring semester for the 2017-18 academic year.

FY18 Update

As of the end of the second quarter of the current fiscal year, financials are projected to be favorable to plan. As always, we should remember that this is in the context of planned deficits over several years necessary to make investments important both to the academic mission and to growing revenues, in order to ensure a healthy and sustainable academic and financial model for the Institute in the future. In addition, fundraising is currently at $3.95M or 69 percent on a cash goal of $5.7M. We are projecting to meet the overall cash fundraising target with the caveat that much work remains to be done. Overall, we are on track for this first year of our five-year plan, which is a key next step in Peabody’s future.

Enrollment for 2018-19

Having just completed the auditions for the 2018-19 academic year, we can report that completed applications including scheduled auditions totaled 1,629 this year, up 19 percent over last year’s 1,366 total. Applications are up 12 percent after factoring out candidates for our two new programs, New Media and Dance, both of which saw impressive cohorts of applicants. Continued developments in admissions strategies, the excellent work of our faculty, and new competitive advantages with the launch of Peabody’s Breakthrough Curriculum are contributing to robust numbers. Most important, faculty reported across the spectrum a consistently high level of applicants for this class. The work of shaping next year’s class is now well under way.

Faculty Appointment Highlights

In January we were delighted to make the announcement appointing trumpeter Sean Jones as the Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair in Jazz Studies at Peabody, an announcement marking a new era for Jazz Studies at the Conservatory. Sean comes to us from the Berklee College of Music, where he has served as chair of the Brass Department since 2014. His numerous other teaching and performance activities include artistic director of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, Artist-in-Residence at San Francisco Performances, and a member of the SFJAZZ Collective. In addition, he serves as a member of the Jazz Education Network’s Board of Directors and was recently appointed as artistic director of Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz. Since his appointment, seven additional jazz artists have been appointed to the faculty including Alex Brown, Warren Wolf, and several other Baltimore-based faculty. These appointments come at a particularly opportune moment. Jazz is a meaningful part of the Baltimore story, and an essential contemporary American art form. This renewed commitment to jazz and its critical points of intersection with many different aspects of musical creation and performance, as well as Peabody’s strong commitment to citizen artistry, make this an ideal time and place to mark a new chapter for jazz at Peabody and in Baltimore. We could not have a more stellar group of artists with whom to embark on this new journey.

Similarly, we recently announced the first of what will be two major appointments to the violin faculty. Vadim Gluzman, renowned violinist and soloist, will join the Peabody faculty as Distinguished Artist in Residence beginning with the 2018-19 Academic Year. In addition to a vibrant performance career that has Mr. Gluzman performing regularly with the world’s top orchestras and at virtually every major music festival, he is an insightful and refined teacher. We are delighted to make an appointment of this caliber to our Strings Department.

Other exciting new faculty hires include Brad Balliett, bassoon; Abel Pereira, Wei-Ping Chou and Robert Rearden, horn; and Omar Thomas, visiting faculty in music theory. We look forward to welcoming all new faculty members to the Peabody community.

A Fifth Pillar

In much the same way that Peabody has put a stake in the ground around its new Breakthrough Curriculum so too have we as it pertains to diversity and inclusion initiatives. So much so that we have now added Diversity as a fifth pillar to our strategic vision as articulated in our Breakthrough Plan. There are four fundamental reasons for this commitment. First, it’s the right thing to do and doing the right thing will always be in the interest of the institution. Second, as we have seen in business and other enterprises, diversity begets excellence. And we are all about excellence. Third, musical barriers are breaking down. Different genres of music are influencing today’s composers, and vice versa – classical music is influencing other voices. In order to foster this fantastic and rich landscape, we benefit from different voices in that conversation, as performers, composers, and audiences. Which leads to the fourth, final and equally important point. Diversity is key to future audience development. If we want to be growing audiences for the future, we need to attract a more diverse audience. This will be even more essential as demographics shift in the United States over the coming three decades. We need to understand and leverage that shift. And ultimately, we will only truly diversify our audiences if we diversify performers on our stages. That is quite simply why the focus on diversity and inclusion is not only right, it’s also smart and vital for the future of classical music and in the interest of all genres of music.

This commitment is only truly meaningful if we can translate it into action. For that reason, it is important to recognize that of forty new faculty hired for the current academic year and next, 28 percent are underrepresented minorities. This represents a significant step forward in Peabody’s commitment in this critical area.

As you can see, we continue to execute on the Breakthrough Plan thanks to the outstanding efforts of our faculty and staff. I look forward to keeping you updated as we move forward.


Fred Bronstein