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Faculty & Staff

Adrienne Thompson

Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative Project Director


Music education veteran Adrienne Thompson leads the Chicago Musical Pathways Initative (CMPI) as its founding Project Director.

A native Chicagoan, Thompson returns to the Midwest from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed Talent Development Program, which supports Latinx and African American students who want to pursue careers in classical music. Prior to her leadership role at the Atlanta Symphony, for twenty years, Thompson was a high school-level orchestra director at a primarily African American school in Georgia where she raised the level of the student musicians from Level 3 to Level 6 over a five-year period. Thompson received a degree in flute performance from Chicago’s Sherwood Conservatory of Music (now part of Columbia College Chicago) and has an MBA from Indiana University. In 1968, as an eighth grader, Thompson became one of the first African Americans to attend Mount Greenwood Elementary School, known as the “Mount Greenwood 7.”

“I am excited to return to the city that sparked my intense personal passion for classical music. I can’t wait to get started helping young Chicago musicians acquire the musical and life skills that will allow them to realize their dreams,” says Thompson.

Thompson will work with Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative founding partner organizations to identify and collectively develop exceptionally promising young musicians from traditionally underrepresented communities in the greater Chicago area. Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative will focus on music students of African American, Latinx, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and/or South Asian/Pacific Islander heritage as well as those from lower-income households who might be the first in their family to attend college. The goal is for CMPI musicians to be fully prepared with the skills necessary to excel in our nation’s top conservatories and college schools of music and, eventually, the ranks of the nation’s professional musicians and orchestras.

Learn more about CMPI at

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