Press release

New England Conservatory Announces Marshall Hughes as Boston Bridge to Equity and Achievement in Music Program Manager

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Stephanie Janes |(617) 419-0445 |

BEAM’s Mission is to Prepare Young Musicians from Underrepresented Populations for Careers in Classical Music

Headshot of Marshall Hughes

For Immediate Release (April 3, 2019—Boston, MA) — New England Conservatory (NEC) has announced the appointment of respected Boston-based arts administrator Marshall Hughes as the Boston Bridge to Equity and Achievement in Music (BEAM) Program Manager. With his deep understanding of equity challenges in education and knowledge of community arts education, Mr. Hughes will focus on providing students with individualized plans to achieve musical excellence and college/conservatory acceptance.

The BEAM Initiative is a collaborative effort to provide sustained pathways of educational opportunity and advanced preparation to Boston-area middle and high school instrumental musicians from historically underrepresented communities. Its goal is to increase diversity in conservatory and university instrumental music programs, in order to address longstanding inequities in the field of classical music.

Rebecca Bogers, Dean and Director of the NEC Preparatory School, says, “We are thrilled to be working with Marshall. His artistic background and deep connections to the Boston arts community make him the perfect person to lead the BEAM program and guide our young musicians. We look forward to the first phase of the BEAM initiative as we recruit and audition students for the fall 2019 cohort. All of the Boston partner organizations are committed to supporting students of diverse backgrounds in order to effect change in the landscape of young classical musicians.”

As part of this newly developed role to lead BEAM, Mr. Hughes will oversee the daily management of the program and individual curricula for each student musician. In conjunction with the young artists, Mr. Hughes will devise progress plans which take into account their motivations and inspirations, the challenges they must overcome to be successful, and their identities as orchestral musicians and leaders. By developing and maintaining a deep cultural understanding of the BEAM cohort, each student will have an individualized road map to follow.

Marshall Hughes says, “I’m excited to be a part of the BEAM initiative. This collaboration not only places the underrepresented musician in the middle of a vibrant musical experience, it gives them the tools needed to be successful as our next generation of artists, performers, and critical thinkers.”

About New England Conservatory

The New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston, Massachusetts, is the oldest independent school of music in the United States, and it is widely recognized as one of the country's most distinguished music schools. NEC is especially known for its strings, piano, woodwinds, and brass departments, and its prestigious chamber music program.

About Marshall Hughes

Marshall Hughes is founder and director of Opera unMet, an urban opera company that has performed in major venues over the past decades, including the Hatch Shell, Symphony Hall, and First Night. Marshall conducted SANS, an International Choral Exchange Choir, for over 15 years, leading tours to the former Soviet Union, Russia, The Balkans, and China. He has performed extensively on the international stage, including Europe and the United States, and has directed major theater productions at several colleges, including Emerson College, New England Conservatory, and Wheelock College. He has been on the faculties of MIT, Wheelock, Roxbury Community College, and Emmanuel College. He has received numerous awards for the critically acclaimed work with Roxbury Repertory Theater, including the Kenneth A. MacDonald Award for theater excellence. He serves on the boards of OrigiNation Dance, Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry in Roxbury, and Castle of Our Skins.

About BEAM

In September 2018, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $2.5 million to New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), in consortium with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Community Music Center of Boston, Project STEP, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to launch the Boston Bridge to Equity and Achievement in Music (BEAM) initiative. Through the BEAM initiative, 60-75 students each year will receive private instrumental lessons, orchestral experience, chamber music coaching, music theory classes, support for summer program participation, and long-term, individual advising and mentorship. The program will be student-focused, robust, year-round, and adaptable, created and guided in equitable partnership with community representatives and with the families it serves. The Mellon Foundation’s grant will support the project’s first 45 months, including a 9-month planning period and three full years of programming. The first cohort of students will begin the new program in the fall of 2019, after a process of community engagement, recruitment and auditions in spring 2019.


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