In recent years the Peabody Institute has been repositioning itself in the world of music conservatories, its home community of Baltimore, and within the multi-faceted framework of the renowned Johns Hopkins University, with which it has been affiliated since 1977. Peabody is in the midst of a stimulating period of growth, focused on excellence, innovation, and leading the way in adapting to the changes in the American and international performing arts landscape. Founded in 1857, Peabody is the oldest conservatory in the nation and has a storied history. Over the years, its landmark buildings have seen artists such as Peter Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein, Igor Stravinsky, Nadia Boulanger, and Leonard Bernstein traversing its hallways. It counts André Watts, Philip Glass, James Morris, Hilary Hahn, Cyrus Chestnut, and Tori Amos among its illustrious alumni. In 2017 alone, three Peabody alumni were Grammy Award-winners. Current faculty includes leading artists such as Marin Alsop, Manuel Barrueco, Leon Fleisher, Marina Piccinini, and two Pulitzer Prize winning composers, Kevin Puts and Du Yun. Guest artist-faculty include Richard Goode, Midori, Wycliffe Gordon, and Georg Haas.
Today, Peabody is building on its rich history of professional training at the highest level and has developed a vision for the role of the 21st century artist in society and the training required to meet the new realities and opportunities of that role. Peabody’s history, tradition, and pedigree, coupled with its forward looking view and commitment to challenge traditional assumptions, allow it to take on the real work of what it means to prepare artists for a world that is constantly changing. Peabody’s vision for the future connects directly to its founding 160 years ago as a cultural center for the region that celebrated the role of music, art, letters, and discourse.
To take this vision of marrying the old with the new, and to ensure that Peabody and Johns Hopkins University leverage their competitive advantage, Peabody has built its strategic Breakthrough Plan around Five Pillars: Excellence, Interdisciplinary Experiences, Innovation, Community Connectivity, and Diversity.
Critical initiatives have been advanced to meet these goals as the following update illustrates.
In fall 2017, following 18 months of work by the Peabody Curriculum for the Future Task Force, the Breakthrough Curriculum was implemented to fully integrate training for 21st century careers in the performing arts into the traditional training for which Peabody is renowned. Peabody is using its rich history as the oldest conservatory in the United States to lead the way in new directions of training and a new vision for how a modern conservatory relates to the world around it. The Breakthrough Curriculum, which is already garnering national attention as well as philanthropic support, infuses our tradition with new perspectives to create a model at the forefront of arts training in the United States. 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. Instrumentalists also experience ensemble training that reflects the flexibility increasingly needed for future success, a direct outcome of the Reimagining Ensembles at Peabody Task Force. Through progressive phases the Breakthrough Curriculum engages every student, undergraduate and graduate, in meaningful experiences across critical areas, always guided by the goal of excellence and artistic accomplishment. Since its launch, Peabody is continuing to refine and strengthen the Breakthrough Curriculum’s efficacy through student focus groups, evaluation, and establishing the Breakthrough Curriculum Work Group charged with assessing progress to date and recommending additional improvements to be implemented in the 2019-20 academic year.
Sustainability requires thinking about program evolution from the perspective of the Five Pillars – Excellence, Interdisciplinary Experiences, Innovation, Community Connectivity, and Diversity – in the context of a sustainable academic-business model. A five-year model (FY18-FY22) is guiding the Institute with a focus on excellence and innovation, while moving toward greater sustainability. FY18, the first year of the five-year plan, finished well ahead of key financial and enrollment targets, and is similarly on track to finish ahead of plan for FY19. Components of the model include: