Expanding the scope of classical-music education at Madison Conservatory

Posted on: August 16, 2021

“Centuries of classical music have been defined, practiced and viewed primarily through the work of white, male European composers,” writes Michael Muckian in Tuesday’s (8/10) Madison Magazine (WI).  “The myopic lens has led to limited points of entry for many young musicians of color, who rarely are presented with classical concert compositions by Asian, Black, Latino or non-male composers. Music educator Melanie de Jesus, founder and director of Madison Conservatory, is challenging the traditional paradigm to make music education more inclusive for all students. ‘The guiding principle behind the Madison Conservatory is that all children—and all people, really—deserve music,’ de Jesus says, adding that one of the organization’s primary goals is to eliminate finances as a barrier for students…. De Jesus admits she loves Beethoven, but when you only hear music from him and his contemporaries, the focus skews away from composers of color…. The violist … enters her 11th season as an instructor with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and Music Makers [school]…. De Jesus launched Madison Conservatory in January…. ‘Students of color comprise 75% of our total student body,’ she says. ‘Every parent in the world wants a place where they know their children will shine.’ ”