IDEAs for the Future of the Performing Arts

April 27, 2022

As a follow-up to Peabody’s February 2021 exploration of innovation and resilience and our November 2021 focus on flexibility, The Next Normal: IDEAs for the Future of the Performing Arts event examined inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism in the performing arts industry in a free virtual symposium.

A February 2022 report released by Slover Linett Audience Research shows that Americans believe the arts world needs to change. The survey of the arts and culture participants of more than 500 cultural organizations across the country found that 45 percent of Americans believe that systemic racism is present in some arts and culture genres, and 76 percent of Americans want arts and culture organizations “to be active in addressing social issues in their communities.”

How might we reimagine the performing arts industry and performing arts training  in order to advance racial equity in the field, broaden and diversify the range of creative voices heard and seen on our stages, and build expanded audiences that fully reflect the diversity of current and future communities?

The third installment of the Peabody Institute’s Next Normal symposium series invited participants to share their collective knowledge in examining these questions, with a focus on overcoming barriers and elevating solutions.

View the Presentations and Panels

Visual Notes

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Visual Notes for The Next Normal IDEAs: Morning Panel
Visual Notes for The Next Normal IDEAs: Alexander Lloyd Blake Visual Notes for The Next Normal IDEAs: Afternoon Panel

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  • Fred Bronstein, dean, The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University
  • Alysia Lee (MM ’06, Vocal Performance), faculty and Next Normal Symposium Consultant, The Peabody Conservatory


  • Alexander Lloyd Blake, conductor, composer/arranger, singer, Founding Artistic Director of Tonality
  • Garrett McQueen, bassoonist, conductor, producer and co-host of the TRILLOQUY podcast


  • Darin Atwater, founder, Soulful Symphony
  • Camille Delaney McNeil, director, Beckmen YOLA Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Carl DuPont, vocalist; scholar; assistant professor of voice, Peabody Conservatory
  • Fredara Hadley, professor of ethnomusicology, The Juilliard School
  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph, vice president and artistic director of social impact, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Jonathan Martin, president, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Damien Sneed, pianist; organist; conductor; composer; producer; arranger; arts educator; faculty, Manhattan School of Music
  • Louise Toppin, soprano; professor of voice, University of Michigan; director of Videmus
  • Richard White, principal tuba, New Mexico Philharmonic and Santa Fe Symphony; professor of tuba, University of New Mexico
  • Stephanie Ybarra, artistic director, Baltimore Center Stage; drama faculty, The Juilliard School