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Through implementation of the Breakthrough Plan beginning in 2015, 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 makes 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, allowing Peabody to build on investments made in recent years to increase scholarship funding, and increasing the average scholarship support as a percentage of tuition from 35 percent five years ago to nearly 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.
  • A fully redesigned faculty governance system is adopted and includes an evaluation system, implementation of regular departmental external reviews, enhanced chair roles, and implementation of 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 appointed as Distinguished Artist Faculty; and Midori appointed as Distinguished Visiting Artist.
  • Facilities upgrades include Phase I of acoustical and technical improvements of Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall, led by renowned acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard. First phase of facilities pre-study completed with second phase underway as steps towards developing a campus masterplan that will include a new vision for students’ residences as well as increased programmatic space for Peabody’s growing initiatives.
  • The Peabody Symphony Orchestra’s first CD on Naxos makes the Billboard Charts, and is followed by a second CD featuring Marin Alsop, Leonard Slatkin, and Marina Piccinini.
  • University-wide awards granted to Peabody faculty include Catalyst Awards for composers Kevin Puts, Oscar Bettison, Judah Adashi, Du Yun, and Felipe Lara, and musicology faculty Laura Protano-Biggs and David Gutkin; President’s Frontier Award awarded to composer Michael Hersch, also named a Gilman Scholar.

Interdisciplinary Experiences 

  • Emerging and growing footprint at the intersection of performing arts and health focuses on musician wellness and palliative uses of music to treat disease, 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 opens at Peabody, a multidisciplinary occupational healthcare clinic and wellness center for musicians and dancers on the Peabody campus.
  • 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 noontime concerts for medical staff through the Music Connects concert series.
  • Peabody faculty receive Discovery Award to study the impact of singing on dementia patients.
  • 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 and JHU expand double degree program; launch Directed Studies Minor enabling Peabody students’ studies across JHU divisions. 
  • Peabody partners with the Carey Business School, making a business minor available to Peabody students.


  • Peabody launches low-residency master’s program in composition in June 2022.
  • Peabody Institute hosts a national symposium in February 2021, “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 institution, with 1,300 national and international participants. “The Next Normal 2.0: Flexibility is the Future,” convened and hosted by Peabody, a day-long event in November 2021 features presenters and panelists from across the performing arts.
  • Launch in fall 2020 of the Peabody Conservatory Post-COVID Think Tank, 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.
  • 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.
  • Peabody Preparatory expands beyond its longstanding core programs, launching in fully remote formats Peabody Plus – Music and Dance Classes for Adults; Peabody Prescribe – Arts and Wellness, and Peabody Pro – Professional Development for Artists. Programs include Playing Well as an online pilot initiative, an outgrowth of Peabody’s Music and Medicine 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 continuing to build 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 expands its new music footprint through its recent Naxos recordings, and expands its internationally renowned composition department while launching the ensemble Now Hear This.

Community Connectivity 

  • Peabody Preparatory prepares to launch 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. Roster of partnerships places Peabody performers throughout Baltimore at events like Light City Baltimore, RiseBmore, UMBC, the Walters Art Museum, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. 
  • Peabody Pop-Ups, launched citywide, bring short, unannounced live music performances to Baltimore schools, social service agencies, health care facilities, and civic and public spaces. 
  • The Musician-in-Residence program places Peabody students as artist-in-residence in senior living facilities. 
  • Young Audiences of Maryland partnership features Peabody students performing in schools. 
  • Peabody concerts made free results in doubling attendance.   


  • The Mellon Foundation awards Peabody a multi-year grant of $1 million to support Peabody’s role in the inaugural Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways (BWMP) collaborative initiative which seeks to diversify the landscape of the American classical music field, and includes cultural anchors in Baltimore and Washington, DC, the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and other affiliated partners, working jointly to improve pathways for student musicians in grades 8-12 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 17 percent of the total cohort in fall 2021, more than double the enrollment of BIPOC students in 2015, then 10 percent of the student cohort.     
  • Following implementation of Peabody’s Faculty Diversity Plan, BIPOC faculty represent 15 percent of total Conservatory faculty in fall 2021, up from 6.5 percent five years ago.
  • Peabody establishes the Peabody Institute Diversity Fund to ensure investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Peabody receives $1.25 million gift from JHU Trustee, William H. Miller III to support Tuned-In, the Peabody Preparatory’s program designed to create early access to high-level music study for underrepresented students in Baltimore.
  • 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.
  • Bias survey undertaken in spring 2021 with implementation of recommendations underway.