New Jersey: Princeton University and Trenton
In 2018–19, Gustavo Dudamel and the Foundation partnered with Princeton University, Trenton Public Schools, and the Trenton Musicmakers, a local El Sistema-inspired program, to unite two historically separate communities—Trenton, New Jersey, with one of the lowest graduation rates in the country, and Princeton University, a world-renown Ivy League institution—through joint music programs, discussions, and concerts.
Many of the events were curated and led by Dudamel, Princeton University Concerts’ first Artist-in-Residence, and explored four themes: Art & Social Change, Art & Faith, Art & Nature, and Art, Society, & Politics.
At Princeton, Dudamel and the Foundation organized campus-wide interdisciplinary collaborations with the Department of Music, Center for Human Values, Program in Latin American Studies, Humanities Council, Lewis Center for the Arts, and the Woodrow Wilson School’s Center for Arts and Cultural Policy. Over a dozen events, many of which were free, were dedicated to music’s capacity to bring people together and serve as a platform for world change. Dudamel moderated panels and discussions, curated recitals and concerts, and led community “chamber jams” with local musicians and members of the Berlin Philharmonic.
In Trenton, Dudamel worked with the Trenton Music Makers and students from Trenton Central High School. As a culmination of the project on August 26, 2019, he conducted the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club at Richardson Auditorium, with a portion of ticket sales going to establish a new program to bring Trenton students to Princeton University Concerts as well as sending the University’s guest artists to visit students in Trenton. The next day, he brought the Orchestra and Glee Club to Trenton for a free community concert at the historic Patriots Theater at the War Memorial.
The Gustavo Dudamel Foundation has offered to make a substantial gift to support the road ahead. Beginning in 2019–20, musicians from Princeton University Concerts will visit Trenton Public Schools in multifaceted visits including performances in classrooms, guest appearances with school orchestras, and participation in ensemble rehearsals.
The gift will also support the Trenton Youth Orchestra—a string ensemble composed of Trenton students—who receive free coaching and private instruction by Princeton University student musicians.
These initiatives will ensure an enduring impact on the Princeton University campus and in the surrounding region; supporting a commitment to music as a force for uniting communities, empowering young people, and promoting positive social change.
“I cannot say that music is the only thing that will save the world, but we have to put art somewhere far more central to the main sense of our society.” -Gustavo Dudamel