Merit School of Music

Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI)

A Robust Training Pathway

The mission of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI) is to identify and develop gifted and motivated orchestral students from underrepresented backgrounds for acceptance into top-tier conservatory, college or university classical music programs in preparation for careers as professional musicians.

To accomplish this, a diverse network of well-established not-for-profit Chicago music and youth-focused organizations work to identify talented, motivated students early in their training, and together, help them to achieve their full musical potential.

Over the long-term, the goal of CMPI is to increase diversity in America’s professional, musical landscape, and particularly in its orchestras, promoting equity, vibrancy, and sustainability within those organizations and the extraordinary art form they celebrate.

A group photo of the CMPI inaugrual class
Icon of purple stars

CMPI's Impact Since 2020

In the fall of 2019, CMPI launched its first full cohort of 50 fellows from 38 zip codes across the Chicagoland area. Today CMPI has grown to engage up to 100 fellows annually.

Students have been linked with mentors, ensemble opportunities, funding for lessons and instruments, and a variety of other resources—putting them on a path towards success in music and in life.

Most impressively, all CMPI graduates have matriculated to high-caliber universities and conservatories, such as The Curtis Institute, Oberlin Conservatory, Rice University, New England Conservatory of Music, Northwestern University, DePaul University, and more.

An oboe player performing a solo

CMPI Provides:

  • Mentoring from professional classical musicians
  • Once-in-a-lifetime recital and masterclass opportunities
  • Financial assistance (up to $8,200 per year) toward private lessons, summer music camps, buying a high-quality instrument, and travel-related expenses
  • Workshops on practice and audition strategies, mental health, performance coaching, college planning, and more
  • Advisory sessions between fellows, parents, teachers, and CMPI staff to help fellows set and achieve personal goals
  • Complimentary concert tickets to watch professional orchestras in action
partner organizations working together
$ 0 M
in college financial aid awarded to CMPI graduates
zip codes represented by CMPI fellows who are 93% BIPOC

A Multi-Organization Effort

CMPI is made possible by close collaboration and resource sharing among a diverse network of well-established non-profit Chicago youth and music education organizations.

Partner organizations include:

CMPI & Merit School of Music

Merit School of Music is proud to serve as a lead partner and provide a home to CMPI, a multi-organization collaborative effort established in 2018, with 33% of CMPI fellows hailing from Merit.

What Our Students Are Saying

CMPI prepares students to become the best musician and person that they can.
Rafael Noriega
CMPI & Merit Alum, Currently Studying Music At Cleveland Institute Of Music
It’s a blessing that CMPI makes available these funds.
Olivia Molina
CMPI & Merit Alum, currently studying music at Oberlin University
Violing player performing a solo

33% of CMPI Fellows Hail from Merit

Merit students currently in CMPI:

  • Angel Cocone
  • Jacob Cornejo
  • Olivia Doolin
  • Paloma Furst Chavira
  • Sebastien Huelke
  • Kaylee Johnson
  • Camila Moreno
  • Elizabeth Munoz
  • Andrei Nague
  • Natalia Noriega
  • Andrew Olvera
  • Aki Santibanez
  • Na’ilah Shahid
  • Olivia Villa
  • Sofia Villanueva

Learn More About CMPI

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