Art and Activism Workshop

Earlier this year, I posted about a grant I received from Johns Hopkins University. The purpose of the grant was twofold: first, to fund a new piece I’m writing about the unseen violence of solitary confinement in America, specifically the tragic story of Kalief Browder. The second part of my proposal involved the creation of a biweekly, two-hour workshop at the Peabody Institute, focused on contemporary intersections between music and social justice. I’m happy to announce the ten participants selected for this workshop!

Kate Amrine, trumpet, MM ‘17
Gregory Goldberg, horn, BM ‘19
Joey Guidry, bassoon, BM ‘18
Alec Kipnes, double bass, BM ‘18
Jamie Leidwinger, composition, MM ‘18
Sonia Matheus, oboe, BM ‘20
Sean McFarland, composition, MM ‘18
Daniel Sabzghabaei, composition, MM ‘17
Sarah Thomas, violin, BM ‘17
Lior Willinger, piano, GPD ‘18

I was thrilled with the number and quality of applications; it was hard to choose among so many students passionate about engaging with the broader world through music. I was especially moved by the diversity of applicants and ideas. The selected participants are a varied group, with regard to their backgrounds, their majors, where they are in their studies, and above all, their project proposals, which include:

  • a debut album devoted to female composers and performers
  • a thesis on ethics, protest and censorship in music
  • F**k the Stigmas, a concert series destigmatizing and educating about mental illness
  • research on the intersection of hip-hop and sociopolitical conditions in Baltimore
  • a podcast examining the idea of Music and Place, also documenting our workshop
  • musical settings of Latino activist poetry
  • a non-profit arts venue for all ages that doubles as a community center
  • a song cycle on texts by Persian women in the #mystealthyfreedom movement
  • interactive musical experiences with Baltimore’s homeless population
  • If Music Be the Food, a concert series that collects food for the Maryland Food Bank

The workshop will be loosely divided into a fall seminar and a spring practicum. During the first semester, we’ll consider the role and responsibility of 21st century musicians in addressing sociopolitical issues of our time, by way of readings, audio, video, invited guests, and group discussion and activities. The second semester will focus on the development and initial realization of student projects. In lieu of academic credit, each student will receive a $500 honorarium in support of their participation and their projects. 

I couldn’t be more excited about this new initiative, taking place just as Peabody moves towards making community engagement more central to what we do. The workshop gets underway later this month. Please stay tuned for updates!