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The highest level of achievement for Merit students in tuition-free, audition-based programs.
Who we are and what we believe in.
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Merit's supporters remove barriers to music education, ensuring access for Chicago's youth.
Additional info for current and prospective students.
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.
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 31 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.
- 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
zipcodes represented by CMPI fellows who are 90% BIPOC
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 25% of CMPI fellows hailing from Merit.
What Our Students Are Saying
CMPI prepares students to become the best musician and person that they can.
It’s a blessing that CMPI makes available these funds.
25% of CMPI Fellows Hail from Merit
Merit students currently in CMPI:
- Olivia Aguilar
- Samuella Divine Booker-Alley
- Angel Cocone
- Aleo Esparza
- Dante Espinoza-Villasenor
- Luis Fernandez
- Benjamin Fernandez
- Jose Flores
- Juan Garcia
- Anna Huelke
- Sebastien Huelke
- Amy Liang
- Miles Macklin
- Jonathan Martinez
- Fabrizio Milcent
- Genesis Morales
- Camila Moreno
- Elizabeth Munoz
- Natalia Noriega
- Andrew Olvera
- Madison Pointer
- Jillian Riordan
- Calleigh Riordan
- Owen Riordan
- Na’ilah Shahid
- Nazeeh Shahid
- Padric Sullivan
- Michelle Yee
Learn More About CMPI
Visit chicagopathways.org to read on about the training program, donate, and audition.