What specific skills in communication, audience development, programming, and community connectivity do Peabody students need to have mastered as they train to be citizen-artists of the future? And how can the learning of these skills be integrated into the work of every Peabody student? These questions are at the core of the work of the Peabody Curriculum for the Future Task Force, which began meeting in the fall and is expected to deliver its recommendations later in 2016.
Similarly, the Reimagining Ensembles at Peabody Task Force is working through questions around the number, size, and composition of Peabody student ensembles, and how the ensemble program can be configured to give students the most relevant and meaningful performance opportunities in their time here, best preparing them for the wide variety of experiences they’ll likely encounter in professional life.
The work of these task forces provides just two examples of Peabody’s continued strategic focus on excellence, innovation, interdisciplinary experiences, and community connectivity, the four pillars of Dean Fred Bronstein’s future-focused Breakthrough Plan.
“The task forces now underway are central to the discussion around Peabody’s expanding vision for the future of professional music training,” notes Dean Bronstein. “This is an enormously exciting process and an opportunity for Peabody to engage in a deep conversation about where music as an art and profession is going, and how Peabody can lead in this conversation. At its core, this is about training musicians who will have the flexibility to be successful in a constantly changing environment.”
It’s also about embracing the notion that conservatories today must see themselves as being in the audience development business. Dean Bronstein continues: “Growing and expanding audiences for the future requires a different kind of performer. In order to ensure the needed evolution of artists inhabiting our future performing organizations, whether they are in orchestras, opera companies, or in less conventional settings, the training that prepares them for these positions must also evolve. That’s where this discussion and Peabody’s leadership is so critical.”
The work of reinvigorating Peabody and marrying its long his- tory to a future vision that is holistic, innovative, inclusive, connected, and relevant — as outlined in the Breakthrough Plan — continues to make progress on all fronts. Among its initiatives are several profiled throughout the pages of this mag- azine, including the awarding of Peabody’s first-ever Dean’s Incentive Grants designed to foster innovation in the work of our faculty and students (p. 5); the creation, working with Johns Hopkins Medicine, of a full-time faculty research position (p. 9); the launch of the Young Artist Development Series (p. 10); the launch of a new partnership with WBJC 91.5 FM (p. 13); and our collaboration with Yellow Barn Music Haul (p. 25).
Considering the many developments now unfolding under the auspices of the Breakthrough Plan, Dean Bronstein concludes: “It is exciting to see the number of future-oriented initiatives that are now happening here, and the potential impact and implicit importance of these new directions. I am especially pleased that these task forces are engaging an unprecedented number of Peabody faculty — more than 50 — along with administration, students, alumni, and members of the Peabody National Advisory Council. The organic and inclusive nature of this work promises an excellent result for Peabody.”
— Tiffany Lundquist