The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in Lansdowne, Virginia, has announced grants totaling $1.26 million to six music education programs across the country working to increase advanced instruction and performance opportunities for musically talented, low-income students between the ages of 8 and 18.
Renewable for up to three years and ranging in amount from $150,000 to $250,000, the grants were awarded as part of the foundation's Widening the Stage initiative. Grant recipients include the Merit School of Music, which was awarded $250,000 to create a Conservatory Feeder Program that will prepare low-income students for entry into its Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-Free Conservatory; the Settlement Music School, which received $250,000 to expand its ensemble program at four community sites within Philadelphia; and the Harmony Project, which was awarded nearly $250,000 to offer an intensive music education to up to thirty-two students who demonstrate exceptional talent, character, drive, and musicianship through its new Academy program.
The foundation also awarded $237,500 to the Levine School of Music to expand an honors program that offers advanced training, recitals, discounted or free instrument rentals, and professional development activities to sixteen outstanding young musicians from disadvantaged families in the greater Washington, D.C., region; $150,000 to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute to provide full or partial scholarships to at least twenty-four students from underrepresented ethnicities, low-income families, and diverse geographical areas to participate in its Young Artists Programs; and more than $122,000 to the Atlanta Music Project to initiate a neighborhood-based Exceptional Student Program that will provide year-round advanced music offerings and resources to twenty of its top students.
"Musical talent exists in all communities, but not all communities have the financial resources to nurture that talent to its fullest potential," said the foundation's executive director, Dr. Lawrence Kutner. "As young, exceptional musicians progress, private lessons, quality instruments, ensembles, and summer institutes become critical, but are often financially out of reach for low-income students."