The cellist and founder of Mount Vernon Virtuosi hopes the new establishment will bring music to those in the community who need it most


Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Virtuosi

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Cellist Amit Peled is embarking on an ambitious project in a bid to bring more classical music to the people of east Baltimore.  

Mount Vernon Virtuosi (MVV), of which Peled is the founder and artistic director, has unveiled its plan to refurbish an old warehouse in east Baltimore and turn it into a community music house. The music house will serve as a hub where families and young people in the local community will have the opportunity to experience classical music, many for the first time.  

‘I decided that living in a community with classical music being all around and available will make the difference, instead of just going there, playing a concert and leaving again back to our ”comfortable” lives in the suburbs,’ Peled told The Strad. ’The location of the music house in East Baltimore is where most of the problems in our city are. The kids there never really get a chance to be educated and to receive an equal opportunity. We believe that simply being there on the ground and becoming part of the community will make a change for them and also for us as humans and as musicians.’

When Peled began the MVV in 2018 it had two aims: firstly, to share music free of charge with the community in Baltimore and with the wider area of Maryland; secondly, to try and give the young musicians in MVV, currently at school in Maryland, the opportunity to be paid for their music and work through the organisation.  

Once the music house has been created, the musicians will commit to a two-year residency in which they will live and work within the community collaborating with schools and organisations to ‘bring music into the lives of community members from all walks of life’.

’I strongly believe that by creating those opportunities for young musicians and offering these “musical settlements” in underprivileged areas around the US,’ Peled said, ’it will generate a win-win situation and might use the power of music to not only please the rich and wealthy going to Carnegie Hall, but will install the benefits of music to people that have never had the opportunity to explore it, and will create meaningful jobs for many young extraordinaire musicians hungry for something to do!’

The MVV is hoping to raise six million dollars by 2028. This includes three million for construction with the remaining money spent on investing in the operation of the facility, ensuring its legacy.  

Since its inception, the MVV has expanded its free-of-charge concerts to the neighbouring towns of Silver Spring and Rockville, performing in libraries, prisons and schools. Its most recent partnership with KIPP Harmony Academy, ’Every Child Deserves a Voice’, provides free group lessons and instruments to children learning the violin, cello and viola.  

You can find out more about the music house plans and the MVV here.

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