“Yeah, Peabody! I’ve been to that library; it’s so pretty!!!”
I get it. Everyone always talks about how you have to go to Peabody, just to see the stunningly beautiful architecture of the George Peabody Library.It’s true, the George Peabody Library does deserve all the attention it gets. It’s so beautiful that people even reserve the library for private events like weddings and concerts!
But let’s talk about what The Peabody Institute actually is.
The institute was founded in 1857 by a philanthropist named George Peabody, and is the oldest music conservatory in the United States. In 1985, the conservatory became a division of the Johns Hopkins University – since then, the affiliation has allowed students and staff to explore research from a multi-disciplinary standpoint. Outside of offering degrees in music performance, composition, recording arts, and more, numerous students from Johns Hopkins pick up a music minor or take weekly lessons with any one of Peabody’s highly regarded faculty members.
So yes, while Peabody has one heck of a library, it is at its core a MUSIC school.Isn’t that just crazy to think about? Every time I walk from the 7-11 just outside of Peabody, this huge banner stares me in the face. More than ONE THOUSAND performances, all in just one year – that’s 2-3 concerts per day!
Why not come to Peabody for its music? The concerts here are so well-rehearsed, extremely professional, and infinitely interesting. There are concert symphonies, orchestras, operas, jazz bands, quartets, student recitals, and literally so much more.
What’s even better? Almost all the concerts are FREE or DISCOUNTED to JHU students and staff. While ticket prices will obviously vary from concert to concert, you can usually get free tickets for events if you buy them online beforehand. (Find upcoming concerts and learn more about purchasing tickets at peabody.jhu.edu!)
Just this past week, I’ve already been to 3 Peabody concerts, and each was completely different and breath-taking.
The first was an opera featuring a work by Michael Hersch and soprano singer Ah Young Hong. The experience was something that can’t really be put into words, but it was one of the most moving performances I’ve ever seen. There’s an opera review that will better describe the experience than I can found here.
The second was an awesome jazz ensemble concert put on by fellow Peabody classmates from the Peabody Jazz Ensemble, and the entire audience was grooving out by the end of the performance. The ensemble featured works by Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, and more. If you’re into jazz or just want to see what it’s about, I’d definitely recommend going. The group is insanely talented, and the concerts are free for students/staff!The last concert I saw this week was not at Peabody, but at the nearby Enoch Pratt Free Library a couple blocks away. Another friend (who happens to be a Dual Degree Student!) performed harp pieces there with her studio for the public. There was something about the sound of the harp in the large echo-y space that seemed ethereal.
Artists at Peabody put in ridiculous amounts of hours a day practicing, rehearsing, and fine-tuning everything they can to perform their hearts out, and that in itself is admirable. Maybe (more than) once in a while, take the JHMI shuttle over and see what they’ve been working on. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
[Sources: Picture #1: mmmbaltimore2014.org. Picture #2: http://peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu.]