Meredith Ezinma Ramsay, known affectionately as “Classical Bae,” has performed with headliners such as Beyoncé, Yo-Yo Ma, SZA, Kendrick Lamar and Joshua Bell. Now, her new foundation, Strings By Heart, aims to bring more diversity, access and inclusion to the classical music world through music education.
She kicked off the new mission Friday with a tour of Harlem public schools.
Ezinma wrote the score for the 2018 documentary “The Times of Bill Cunningham” about the late New York Times photographer and also worked on the score for the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther.” Yet her ascent to the heights of the classical music world was not an easy one.
“I remember the isolation I felt as the only Black person in the orchestra, at times discouraged by my teachers from pursuing my dreams,” she said. “Yet 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 Latino musicians are historically underrepresented in classical orchestras, making up less than 4% of orchestra members, according to Strad Magazine.
Experts say music education can help develop discipline, leadership, focus and improved grades in addition to fostering a sense of community — skills that can last a lifetime.
To kick off the initiative, Ezinma toured 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 performed interactive demonstrations to encourage students to apply for Strings By Heart.
The organizational goal is to equip, educate and empower students by providing private and group lessons, access to instruments and premier cultural events, and a community-driven approach.
During the sessions, students will be encouraged to try out instruments, engage in listening activities, and get excited about learning something new while developing a rapport with other students.
Shar Music will be the exclusive supplier of instruments to Strings By Heart.
CLICK HERE for more information about Strings by Heart.