Investor and former Johns Hopkins philosophy student William H. "Bill" Miller III has committed $1.25 million to the Tuned-In program at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Established in 2007 at the Peabody Preparatory, the program provides Baltimore City Public Schools students with a complete Peabody Preparatory education for free in pursuit of its mission of driving social change through music.
"I am delighted to be able to support Peabody's Tuned-In program and its important work to nurture the next generation of musicians," said Miller. "Music, philosophers have said, is the most profound of all the arts, and I personally have always found both solace and inspiration in listening to great music. My hope in making this commitment is to help ensure a vibrant future both for promising young musicians in Baltimore and for the art form itself."
Tuned-In uses music as a tool for youth empowerment by teaching life skills that are necessary for music training, including collaboration, leadership, goal-setting, and creativity. Students in the program are predominantly from low-income backgrounds; Tuned-In provides access to introductory and advanced musical study and youth development opportunities, opening doors for success in college and career. In fact, since the program's inception, nearly 100% of Tuned-In graduates have completed high school and attended college. Miller's gift will provide needed technology devices and upgrades for students, expand summer programs to provide deeper engagement for students and families, and strengthen the program's ability to retain enrolled students by increasing investment in those at risk of attrition.
"Mr. Miller's extraordinary support of this program will literally change lives," said Peabody Preparatory director Maria Mathieson. "We have seen how Tuned-In helps students discover pathways and possibilities they might never have known were available to them, and we know it helps them develop the skills and confidence to pursue those opportunities. Mr. Miller's generosity will open up so much more potential for so many more young people in Baltimore."
In addition to its mission of impacting social change through music, Tuned-In creates opportunity to increase diversity in classical music, a field that has historically been overwhelmingly white and accessible only to those with the financial means required for adequate training. Tuned-In provides private lessons, ensemble training, and the surrounding academic coursework to help students from racially and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds to be competitive and prepared for a career in classical music. Tuned-In students will also have access to experiential collaborative learning opportunities through Peabody's participation in the Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways initiative, a regional partnership established in early 2020 with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Tuned-In and the BWMP are key components of the Peabody Institute's comprehensive efforts to change the face of classical music by increasing the diversity of performers, programming, and audiences. This focus and commitment have led to an unprecedented number of underrepresented minority students at the Peabody Conservatory this fall, including 123 students, or 17% of the student cohort, more than double five years ago.
"The very future of the performing arts will depend on what we do today to become more diverse, inclusive, and representative of our communities," said Fred Bronstein, dean of the Peabody Institute. "Simply put, classical music must diversify if it is to survive, and Peabody is fully committed to leading our industry in this work. Early access is key. Bill's magnificent gift to Tuned-In will help us to grow and expand the meaningful impact that this program can have by broadening that access to the arts and arts training. We are immeasurably grateful for the difference Bill's gift will allow us to make here in Baltimore and in the world of classical music."
Miller, formerly the longtime manager of the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust, is the founder and chairman of Miller Value Partners and serves on the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees. His gift to Tuned-In follows his previous commitments to Johns Hopkins, including a $75 million gift to the Department of Philosophy in 2018, thought to be the largest gift ever made to a university philosophy program.