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Peabody partners with Young Audiences to reach Baltimore schools

Buddy Deshler, a member of Marquee Brass, draws a crowd at Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School during Thursday's announcement of Peabody/Young Audiences partnership.
Buddy Deshler, a member of Marquee Brass, draws a crowd at Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School during Thursday's announcement of Peabody/Young Audiences partnership. (HimmelrichPR)

The latest evidence of how Peabody Institute dean Fred Bronstein has steered the conservatory toward the community surrounding it: The Maryland chapter of Young Audiences, the national arts education advocate, is collaborating with Peabody to make available instrumental and vocal music to 181 city schools, plus more around the state.

The partnership, announced Thursday, will make performances available by the Marquee Brass, made up of Peabody grad students; and Peabody Opera Theatre, which will present the full staged production "Papageno," a take on Mozart's "The Magic Flute" featuring conservatory students.

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This new venture rekindles an old association. Young Audiences started out in Baltimore in 1950 after a visit to the city by eminent violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who got a chance to interact with children at an event held at the home of Nina Perera Collier. Impressed with what she saw, Collier launched a plan to make chamber music concerts regularly available in local schools. The result was Young Audiences, which was initially based at Peabody.

The organization soon branched out from Baltimore to encompass other cities. Now headquartered in New York and embracing all art forms, Young Audiences counts more than two dozen chapters nationwide. It is considered the "largest arts-in-education provider" in the country.

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In a statement, Young Audiences of Maryland executive director Stacie Sanders said: "We are deeply concerned that so many of our young people lack access to the rich cultural institutions in our city as part of our education, and that the arts have been squeezed out of the school day ...  Young Audiences is thrilled to partner with the Peabody Institute and harness the immense talent of their musicians to have a deep impact on the education and lives of our children."

Bronstein, who was just voted one of Musical America's "30 Professionals of the Year: The Innovators," said that the Young Audiences partnership reflects "one of the pillars of Peabody's vision" -- community connectivity.

"Nothing is more important than connecting with children through music, across communities," the dean said. "And by doing this, Peabody is providing our students with invaluable experience in what it means to be a 21st-century citizen-artist."

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