Musically talented teens set sights on Peabody grants

Anthony Cianchetta, a 15-year-old pianist from Chester, Md., and Lillian Naill, a 12-year-old violinist from Baltimore, are among the first students to be accepted into Pathways to Peabody, a new program at Johns Hopkins' Peabody Institute. Peabody was one of two music schools in the country to receive a renewable $250,000 Widening the Stage grant from the Virginia-based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Pathways to Peabody is targeting young people from low-income families in Baltimore City and the surrounding counties—Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Howard—who, with proper training, have the potential to succeed in careers in music. Starting this fall, the program will provide full-tuition scholarships for 35 singers, pianists, string players, and other classical and jazz instrumentalists, ages 12 to 17, to join the Peabody Preparatory's performance academies.

"All too often, tomorrow's brightest musical stars are shining in our midst, but barriers to access—perceived or real—prevent our discovery and encouragement of these gifted young musicians," says Gavin Farrell, interim dean of the Preparatory, Peabody's nondegree division. "We are grateful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for making it possible for us to work with Baltimore-area young people who could not otherwise afford the intensive musical training they need."

Each of the Preparatory's five performance academies is a mutually supportive and challenging environment for advanced students. In addition to individual instruction, academy students take weekly performance and music theory classes; participate in ensembles, chamber music groups, and master classes; receive college- and career-readiness guidance; and enjoy a range of recital opportunities.

While some current Preparatory students, such as Cianchetta and Naill, have been admitted to the inaugural Pathways to Peabody class, many spaces remain available. Auditions will be held on Peabody's Mount Vernon campus on the following dates: brass, woodwinds, and percussion, Aug. 17; jazz, Aug. 20 and 22; piano, Aug. 24 and 27; strings, Aug. 23; and voice, Aug. 24.

Parents and teachers of young people interested in auditioning for the program should contact Gavin Farrell at or 410-234-4631.