Founding Partners


New England Conservatory

Founded in 1867, New England Conservatory (NEC) is an internationally renowned school of music that educates outstanding musicians of all ages. Drawing on the talent and deep reservoir of experience of its distinguished faculty, NEC is dedicated to instilling the highest standards of excellence and nurturing individual artistic sensibility and creative growth. NEC’s student body consists of approximately 800 graduate and undergraduate conservatory students from 42 U.S. states and 40 foreign countries, as well as 2,000 youth and adults who study in the Preparatory and Continuing Education divisions. NEC offers nearly 1,000 free concerts on its campus each year, and its Community Performances and Partnerships (CPP) programs reach nearly 17,000 Boston‐area children and adults from all walks of life, through hundreds of programs each year with a robust network of 125 community partners, including schools, day‐care centers, hospitals, homeless shelters and many other types of organizations. More than 4,000 NEC alumni, faculty and students live, work and make music in Massachusetts. Together they touch nearly every aspect of musical life in the region, performing with innumerable classical, jazz, and commercial ensembles of all sizes and genres. NEC is a major engine of the vital activity that makes Boston a musical and cultural capital, and provides a continuing stream of new talent for the musical life of the world. With the recent appointment of Andrea Kalyn to serve as NEC’s 17th President, the Conservatory is poised to embark on a new chapter at the forefront of innovation in education and music.

NEC’s Preparatory School offers “a place for every player,” providing top quality training in a supportive and nurturing environment with opportunities for young musicians of all skill levels—from absolute beginner to near‐professional. One of the largest programs of its kind in the nation, the Preparatory School serves approximately 1,700 K‐12 music students from across New England. Prep’s world‐class faculty of 250, wide variety of options for private and ensemble study, and outstanding performance and touring opportunities all provide students with an exceptional musical and educational experience. The core components of the Prep curriculum include private instrumental lessons, classes in music theory, history and composition, choral singing, and ensembles of all sizes and configurations. The orchestra program includes four full orchestras with winds, brass, percussion, and strings; four large string orchestras; and a string chamber orchestra. Recognizing the need for an accessible and affordable entry point for younger students, NEC Prep recently launched a successful new program called Musical Explorers, through which curious Boston third‐graders receive eurhythmics‐based general music instruction and begin to learn an instrument.


Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras

Widely regarded as one of the country’s finest youth orchestra programs, BYSO is recognized as a model organization in music and arts education. BYSO serves over 600 students from more than 120 communities throughout New England and has been in residence at Boston University since 1958. The mission of BYSO is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment by providing the highest quality orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians, grades K-12, while making its programs accessible to underserved communities through financial assistance and outreach. Under the leadership of Music Director Federico Cortese, BYSO has become one of Boston’s most prestigious arts organizations with a programmatic scope that includes three full symphonic orchestras, two string training orchestras, a preparatory wind ensemble, six chamber orchestras, a chamber music program, and the Intensive Community Program, a nationally recognized instrument training program for students from populations traditionally underrepresented in classical music. BYSO offers more than 20 performances annually at some of Boston’s finest venues including Symphony Hall, Sanders Theatre at Harvard University and Jordan Hall. BYSO has a robust opera program and every year BYSO’s premier orchestra presents a full semi-staged opera and is the only US youth orchestra to do so. In 2012 BYSO and Boston Symphony Orchestra announced a new partnership for the future of classical music, BYSO/BSO: Partnering for the Future.


Community Music Center of Boston

The Community Music Center of Boston (CMCB) has been committed to supporting marginalized groups since it opened its doors in 1910 as a school for immigrant youth in Boston’s South End. When court‐ ordered bussing began in Boston in the mid‐1970’s, CMCB was one of the first outside partners to provide arts instruction for schools in underserved communities; and is currently the largest outside provider of music instruction in the Boston Public Schools, reaching more than 4,500 students weekly. With the mission to transform lives throughout Greater Boston by providing equitable access to excellent music education and arts experiences, CMCB reaches approximately 500 students each week at its main campus in the South End and in nearly 35 outreach sites, including public schools, community centers, and social service agencies. Ranging from early childhood through high school, with summer as well as school‐year programs, core offerings include individual and group lessons in 25+ instruments, voice and composition/theory, and performing ensembles for all skill levels and genres. CMCB’s Intensive Study Project is an accelerated and comprehensive six‐year curriculum for grades 7‐12 that prepares youth for advanced study at an institute of higher learning. CMCB’s diverse student body includes a large proportion of students in moderate to severe financial need: according to the Boston Public Schools, 78% of BPS students (who constitute 80% of CMCB students) qualify for free‐ and reduced‐priced meals due to their income status. CMCB also provides approximately $275,000 annually in need‐based scholarships. 62% of CMCB students and 23% of CMCB faculty are from BEAM’s target demographic groups.


Project Step

Project STEP (String Training and Education Program, or STEP) was founded in 1982 to rectify the vast underrepresentation of certain racial and ethnic minorities in classical music. STEP’s mission is to address this imbalance by identifying musically‐talented children of color from Greater Boston and providing them with long‐term, rigorous music and string instrument instruction. Based at Symphony Hall, STEP helps talented students in grades 1‐12 to develop strong musicianship and life skills through an intensive curriculum of lessons, classes, ensembles, performances, and enrichment opportunities. STEP provides instruments and individualized training for up to twelve years on violin, viola, cello, or bass, placing students with the best teachers in the area including members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and faculty at the New England Conservatory (NEC), where most STEP students participate in NEC Prep’s orchestra programs. Project STEP is proud that every graduate in the program’s history has attended college or conservatory, and approximately 60% are currently pursuing careers in music. More than 2,000 students from underrepresented communities have received high‐quality music instruction through Project STEP’s FOCUS (kindergarten) and core programs. Project STEP won a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2014, the highest award in the country for youth arts programs, and was invited to perform at a White House State Dinner in 2016. These accolades serve as recognition of the program’s high quality and effectiveness.


Boston Symphony Orchestra

Now in its 137th season, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) gave its inaugural concert in 1881, realizing the dream of its founder, the civil war veteran/businessman/philanthropist Henry Lee Higginson, who envisioned a great and permanent orchestra in his hometown of Boston. Today the BSO reaches millions of listeners, not only through its concert performances in Boston and at Tanglewood, but also via the internet, radio, television, educational programs, recordings, and tours. It commissions works from todayʹs most important composers; its summer season at Tanglewood is among the worldʹs most important music festivals; it helps develop future audiences through BSO youth concerts and educational outreach programs involving the entire Boston community; and, during the Tanglewood season, it operates the Tanglewood music center, one of the worldʹs most important training grounds for young professional‐caliber musicians. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players, made up of BSO principals, are known worldwide, and the Boston Pops Orchestra sets an international standard for performances of lighter music.

The BSO serves a general population and aims to broaden its reach to underserved and under‐ represented groups through many access, education, and community engagement programs. Currently, the organization’s board and staff reflect its core concert‐going population, which is primarily Caucasian; however, a current strategic review of leadership planning places diversity at the forefront of future engagement and recruitment. A recent strategic review of the BSO’s education and community engagement programs identified ways to increase the organization’s engagement with underrepresented communities, under the leadership of Leslie Wu Foley, the Helaine B. Allen Director of Education and Community Engagement.

The BSO’s Education and Community Engagement programs offer interactive education and community engagement experiences designed to provide individuals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to develop their relationship with the BSO and build their ownership of and engagement with orchestral music. Following a year‐long strategic planning process in 2016, the BSO has committed to expanding its community engagement work with an emphasis on bringing performances, activities and events to diverse neighborhoods in Boston. BSO’s Collegiate Ambassadors program is a premier workforce development strategy utilizing the assets of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to drive positive youth outcomes through high quality arts inspired interventions. The Collegiate Ambassadors will be a well‐ networked group of undergraduate and graduate students from Boston‐area institutions of higher education, who serve as inspiration and sources of insight for families and BEAM participants seeking a young adultʹs perspective on the professional training experience within the conservatory environment.