Creating diverse, equitable and inclusive education opportunities for young musicians pursuing a career in classical music.

We invited orchestra and conservatory administrators, orchestra musicians and program managers to learn how to create, fund and evaluate a pathway program that's right for their institution.

Session recordings and materials are available below as well as on YouTube.


Why Does the Field Need Pathway Programs?

Keynote Address and Panel Discussion

Joseph Conyers, Acting Associate Principal Bass, Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra
Joy Payton-Stevens, Seattle Symphony Cellist
Weston Sprott, Dean, Juilliard Preparatory Division; Trombonist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Titus Underwood, Principal Oboe, Nashville Symphony

Philadelphia Orchestra bassist and Founder/CEO of Project 440 Joseph Conyers provides an inspiring message to kick off the symposium, followed by a discussion with a panel of distinguished musicians from orchestras across the country in a wide-ranging conversation about the “both/and” imperatives of diversity and excellence; the vital role of orchestras, conservatories and music schools in identifying, attracting and investing in talented young people from underrepresented groups; advice to institutions seeking to make progress; orchestra auditions; and challenges to the field.

How to Build a New Pathway Program

What Size & Scope Is Right for Your Organization

Johnnia Stigall, Manager of Pre-College & Pathway Programs, Cleveland Institute of Music
Adrienne Thompson, Project Director, Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative 
Elijah Wirth, Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways 
Mateen Milan, Baltimore-Washington Musical Pathways 
Kimberly Kraft McLemore, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement, Nashville Symphony

If you're interested in building a new program, where do you start? Hear from program leaders about how they have thought through startup considerations such as program design, defining whom you would like to serve and why, how to gain expertise, identifying and working with partners, how many students to serve, what resources are available to new program managers, and key considerations and challenges in managing program growth.

How to Fund Your Pathway Program

Cassidy Fitzpatrick Carlson, Senior Vice President for Musician Advancement and Dean, New World Symphony
Kathy Waller, Board Member, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Howard Herring, President and CEO, New World Symphony
Azira G. Hill, Co-Founder, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program 
Paul Hogle, President & CEO, Cleveland Institute of Music
Maribeth Stahl, Senior Director of Development, Nashville Symphony Orchestra

Funding is the fuel that sustains any program. In this panel, we explore the different ways organizations have approaching funding their programs, including how to make the case, what motivates donors, what key messages, stories and resources are most effective, and how funding has evolved through the years for more mature programs.

How to Prepare for an Audition

JT Kane, Dean of Visiting Faculty & Orchestra Manager for the New World Symphony
Andrew Brady, Principal Bassoon, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robyn Smith, Second Trombonist, Michigan Opera Theatre
Julian Maddox, Violinist, Canton Symphony Orchestra 
Levi Jones, Third-Year Fellow, New World Symphony

JT Kane, Dean of Visiting Faculty and Orchestra Manager at the NWS and co-host of the audition interview podcast “Behind the Screen,” provides a deep-dive with a panel of experienced auditioners into various types of auditions—for music schools, summer music festivals, fellowships and professional orchestras, including the differences at each level and best practices in networking and preparation. This session was designed with students in mind.

Increasing Black Musician Representation in American Orchestras

Jonathan Saylors, Associate Partner, Innosight 
Jennifer Barlament, Executive Director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Chelsea Sharpe, Violin Fellow at the New World Symphony
Jennifer Arnold, Director of Artistic Planning and Operations, Richmond Symphony

Seeing a need for field-wide research into the relatively low number of Black musicians currently performing in orchestras in the US, strategy consulting firm Innosight provided a major pro-bono project to elevate the voices of Black musicians, compare elements of the Black musician’s journey to that of other musicians, and examine best practices for increasing representation in other fields.

Assessing Your Pathway Program

Kate Scorza Ingram, Founder & Principal, Create Today Consulting 
CJ Stewart, Founder and CEO, L.E.A.D.
Jennifer Arnold, Director of Artistic Planning and Operations, Richmond Symphony

As part of a multi-year introspective program development and expansion process, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra engaged Kate Scorza Ingram of Create Today Consulting to provide an in-depth external evaluation and strategic plan for the Talent Development Program. After presenting high-level insights, Kate will facilitate a discussion to bring light to the issues of institutional and program transformation, the work of increasing representation in other fields, and the vital importance of considering the youth development and positive identity development aspects of any pathway program.

Panel Discussion with Musician Instructors

Ryan Walks, Manager, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program 
Marci Gurnow, Clarinet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Julia Harguindey, Principal Bassoon, Nashville Symphony
Jennifer Call, Preparatory Voice Faculty & Voice Department Chair, Cleveland Institute of Music

Hear from current orchestra members why teaching in pathway programs is vitally important to them.

Panel Discussion with Pathway Program Alumni

Practice, Prayer & Patience: Forging Your Own Pathway

Marquise Lindsey-Bradley, Student, Cleveland Institute of Music
Aalia Hanif, Student, Northwestern University
Denielle Wilson, Cellist, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra 
Angelica Hairston, Founder, Challenge the Stats; Artistic Director, Urban Youth Harp Ensemble

While studying music, young students are often reminded that the learning process is not linear. Therefore, they must partly rely on the guidance from their teachers, mentors and peers to delineate their own pathway to success. In this session, our panelists will share their unique perspectives as Pathway Program Alumni currently studying music or working in the classical music field during the most turbulent conditions our industry has ever faced. We will explore tangible strategies that pathway program students can implement in their own lives in addition to providing program managers with insights as to how they can best support their students throughout their musical journeys.