Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Dean’s Breakthrough Plan Aims to Prepare ‘Ambassadors for the Arts’ 

Dean’s Breakthrough Plan Aims to Prepare ‘Ambassadors for the Arts’ 

The new Centre Street Performance Studio opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 4, 2014. The Studio was created as a venue where Conservatory students can get hands- on experience producing and promoting their own programming ideas. Pictured, left to right: Jay Rubin; Frank Mondimore; Laura Holter, executive director the Middendorf Foundation; and Dean Fred Bronstein.

Since taking the helm at Peabody in June, Dean Fred Bronstein has outlined a bold vision for the Institute that seeks to make it even more competitive among its peers and give greater focus to interdisciplinary initiatives and innovative approaches to the teaching and practice of music. Among his objectives is the importance of preparing students for their later roles as not just outstanding musicians and performers but as ambassadors for the arts, able to interact with a larger and increasingly diverse community.

To fund these important initiatives, the dean is seeking to raise $2.5 million by fiscal year 2016. Beginning last fall, he has asked donors to support efforts such as establishing new positions that support key strategic objectives, redesigning the Peabody website, and conducting market research. In addition, the gifts will provide seed funds for implementing new faculty and staff ideas in interdisciplinary initiatives and innovative curriculum, and to develop new community programs and partnerships.

In what Bronstein calls his Breakthrough Plan, he outlines a program to capitalize on the Institute’s many strengths—such as an exceptional faculty and illustrious alumni, as well as its connection to the Johns Hopkins University—and address some of its challenges, which include enrollment declines and insufficient financial resources.

He suggests that increasingly heightened selectivity in student and faculty recruitment would cement the institution’s reputation as a center of excellence. And he argues that in order to prepare students for successful and sustainable musical careers in the 21st century, Peabody must instill an array of skills so graduates can think flexibly, advocate for art, contribute to their communities in meaningful ways, and find their own audiences.

As he states in his plan, “If we are in the music training business, we must also be in the audience development business, or we risk training artists without the hope of having audiences in the future.”

“This is the kind of investment that has the greatest early traction with those closest to the institution,” says Andrea Trisciuzzi, associate dean for external relations. To help Peabody leverage new resources, President Ron Daniels has created a challenge grant: He will give $1.7 million toward these efforts if the Peabody National Advisory Council (PNAC) commits $800,000 in new contributions, over and above the members’ current campaign and annual giving. The full $800,000 must be received by the end of FY2016. As soon as Peabody receives $800,000 in pledges and outright gifts, President Daniels will transfer $1.7 million into Peabody’s accounts.

Already, a number of PNAC members have stepped up to the plate. In the words of Mark Paris, chair of the PNAC, “Fred Bronstein is the right person at exactly the right time. His plan has energized everyone on the Council, and we are behind him and his efforts 100 percent.”

— Christine Stutz

Guests including actors Lance Reddick, a Preparatory alumnus, and Chris Meloni (pictured, from left) enjoyed an October 5 event hosted by PNAC member Laifun Chung and her husband, Ted Kotcheff, introducing Dean Bronstein to the Peabody community in Los Angeles.