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Making Inroads in Music with Cali Pathways

A $75,000 grant supports Cali Pathways Project as it opens doors for pre-college music students from underrepresented backgrounds

Posted in: Arts, University

Overhead view of musicians on stage.
The Cali Pathways Project opens doors for underrepresented pre-college music students.

With the support of a $75,000 two-year grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Cali Pathways Project at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music will expand its impact in creating pathways to higher education and careers in music for talented student musicians from underrepresented backgrounds.

In partnership with Equity Arc, a national association of organizations dedicated to the advancement of underrepresented musicians in classical music, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation announced multi-year support totaling $1,865,000 to eight organizations of Equity Arc’s National Collective for Musical Pathways. Montclair was among the eight grantees and the only higher education institution in New Jersey.

“We are excited to receive this generous support and continue the University’s commitment to diversify the field of music,” says John J. Cali School of Music Director Anthony Mazzocchi. “By providing a suitable instrument, access to high-level instruction, extra-curricular opportunities, and more, all at no cost to the student, the Cali Pathways Project removes some of the barriers that can prevent underserved students from realizing their full musical potential, and we help prepare them for the demands of higher education.”

Male violinist leads group playing string instruments.

The Cali Pathways Project launched in 2021 and is serving up to 45 high school students each year, providing these high school musicians with instruments, training, mentorship and access to a pathway to studying music as it prepares a diverse group of students for careers as professional musicians and music educators.

“In September, we are expanding to include eighth grade students into the program, to provide additional time for intensive music training and preparation for college auditions and application,” says Cali Pathways Project Coordinator Tomoko Fujita. “This will bring the total number of secondary school students we serve each year to 60.”

Montclair is the first university in the nation to work directly with public schools to recruit and train high school students and to follow and guide them to admittance into music schools. Montclair provides full scholarships for the students who successfully audition and are admitted to the John J. Cali School of Music. At least 22 students are expected to be enrolled at Montclair State University in the 2023-24 academic year.

The Cali Pathways Project is part of the National Collective for Musical Pathways, an alliance of rigorous pre-college music training programs that provide opportunities to remove barriers and accelerate the progress of underrepresented musicians seeking admission into the country’s most prestigious collegiate institutions.

“Through the generosity of donors, the Cali School is ensuring that students have the educational and musical resources to advance their goals and realize their potential, and we are grateful that the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation is supporting us to create these life-changing opportunities,” says Mazzocchi.

Find out more about Montclair’s Cali Pathways Project.

Story by Development Communications Director Laura Iandiorio. Photos by University Photographer Mike Peters.

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