Olivia Tilley began playing the harp at age 7 — the instrument stood well above her. Now 18, she said she was often one of the few performers of color in the halls she would play in until she signed up for the Washington Musical Pathways Initiative.
The initiative is part of a national network to foster professional careers in music. The Washington, D.C., initiative graduated its first class this year. That class included Tilley, who will enroll at Juilliard in the fall.
Jamila Tekalli Hanner, the initiative's artistic director, told CBS News that fewer than 6% of undergraduate classical music majors are Black and Latinx.
"We want to change that," she said.
Washington Musical Pathways Initiative students get free private lessons and master classes at the Kennedy Center from established musicians like The String Queens.
"I don't even know where I would be without this program," said musician Austin Adaranijo.
"I've gotten to meet a lot of other talented individuals who inspire me and who I can also look up to that look like me," Tilley said.
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