32 Merit School of Music Students Selected for Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative’s Second Year

Merit School of Music is proud to share that of the 93 student musicians selected for the Chicago Musical Pathway Initiative’s (CMPI) 2020/21 academic year, 32 of them hail from Merit. We are proud to be one of the organizations leading this important initiative and even prouder to see so many of our students on this prestigious pathway.

Congratulations to the following Merit students: Olivia Aguilar, Michelle Brannon, Angel Cocone, Daniel Cogalludo, Nando Cordeiro, Jacob Cornejo, Pierre David Ngoy, Aleo Esparza, Benjamin Fernandez, Brandon Harper, Shannon Harvey, Darlyne Hidalgo, Kailie Holliday, Amy Liang, Jonathan Martinez, Fabrizio Milcent, Genesis Morales, Camila Morena, Khalilah Muhammad, Natalia Noriega, Rafael Noriega, Calleigh Riordan, Owen Riordan, Jaz Rios, Julia Seabron, Nazeeh Shahid, Na’ilah Shahid, Naseem Shakir, Deaglan Sullivan, Edgar Urbina, Autymn Williams, and Jonathan Young.

Now in its second full season, CMPI addresses the persistent lack of diversity in American orchestras – a condition that threatens the vitality and viability of classical music. The result of a $3.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CMPI builds a Chicago-area training pathway for talented student musicians, from grades 6-12. The project focuses on instrumental students who previously have demonstrated aptitude and interest in pursuing intensive studies and careers in classical music.

The sophomore class was chosen from 152 applicants after completing an intensive multi-month audition process. The students range from sixth graders to high school seniors and reflect the diversity of the city of Chicago (31% African American, 51% Latinx, 5% Southeast Asian, 2% South Asian, 4% East Asian, and 7% Caucasian). Learn more about all the fellows at chicagopathways.org/fellows.

CMPI offers a robust training curriculum designed to prepare young musicians to successfully audition into the best music schools in the country. Essential program components include:

  • Weekly private lessons
  • Monthly mentorship for the entire family from a professional musician mentor
  • Written and verbal feedback from a panel of professional musicians in biannual juries
  • Masterclasses and mock auditions with musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO)
  • Monthly seminars, workshops and family meetings designed to train families in what is necessary to support young musicians in the classical music industry
  • Complimentary tickets to attend professional orchestra concerts
  • Financial support for private lesson fees, instrument purchase, summer camp tuition and application fees, large ensemble tuition fees, college visits and trial lessons, ACT/SAT prep courses, instrument repair, and more
  • Probationary membership during the initial year and junior year of high school; if fellows meet the program requirements, they are reenrolled in subsequent classes.

New for 2020/21 school year, CMPI will be offering:

  • Coaching sessions with a performance psychologist for senior fellows
  • Access to premium content on CSOtv for fellows, families and mentors
  • Access to an exclusive mock audition intensive unit led by musicians of the CSO
  • Training for all fellows in Alexander Technique

> Learn more about Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative at chicagopathways.org.

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