Ezinma’s new initiative Strings By Heart aims to bring more diversity, access and inclusion to the classical music world through music education programmes

Ezinma credit Nathan Johnson

Ezinma © Nathan Johnson

Classical-hip hop fusion violinist Ezinma hopes to bring classical music to underserved children, kicking off the launch of Strings By Heart with a series of performances in Harlem on Friday.

Ezinma, whose full name is Meredith Ezinma Ramsay, has performed with numerous headliners, including Beyoncé, Yo-Yo Ma, SZA, Kendrick Lamar and Joshua Bell. She is known for her viral music videos, fans of which have dubbed her ‘Classical Bae’. She wrote the score for the 2018 documentary The Times of Bill Cunningham and worked on the score for the blockbuster Black Panther.

Her motivation for starting the foundation stems from her own personal experiences of music education, ’I remember the isolation I felt as the only Black person in the orchestra, at times discouraged by my teachers from pursuing my dream,’ she says of her time studying in her native Lincoln, Nebraska and the Mannes School of Music.

She continues, ’The statistics are clear that music education plays a vital role in helping children and young adults get on the path to achieve their goals, improve self-esteem and more.

’Children from every background and community deserve the chance to experience the joy of classical music and feel that they belong in that world. And what better genre than hip-hop to segue young minds into classical music’s vast potential?’

Black and Latinx musicians are historically underrepresented in classical orchestras, making up less than 4 percent of orchestra members in the US.

On Friday Ezinma will tour three Harlem elementary and middle schools: P.S. 197 John B Russwurm, P.S. 133 Fred R Moore and Isaac Newton Middle School for Math and Science. She will perform interactive demonstrations to encourage students to apply for Strings By Heart’s music education programme.

The organisation hopes to equip, educate and empower students by providing private and group lessons, access to instruments and cultural events with a community-driven approach. Students will be encouraged to try out instruments, engage in listening activities, with the aim to drum up excitement about learning something new and develop a rapport with other students.