Boston Conservatory Receives 2015 Commonwealth Award

February 23, 2015

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee proudly announces it has been named the recipient of a 2015 Commonwealth Award for the cutting-edge music education programming it provides to individuals on the autism spectrum. They were honored at a State House ceremony on February 24, 2015.

The notable award, which is presented every two years by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, shines a light on the exceptional effort put forth by Conservatory faculty, students and staff. The council praised the school’s Music Education Department for helping individuals on the spectrum “develop their creativity and fulfill their potential as artists and learners.”

“Community inclusion is part of the Boston Conservatory’s DNA, and this honor is wonderful validation of that mission,” said Richard Ortner, president of the Conservatory. “The program for students with autism is a leading example for both the world of higher education and the arts community at large.”

Founded in 2007, the Boston Conservatory Program for Students on the Autism Spectrum is a first-of-its-kind conservatory-level education program that pairs students, ages 9 and up, with Conservatory music education graduate students for weekly music lessons. Students also receive support from a “consult team” that includes a music therapist, a speech pathologist and special educators, as well as professional musicians and music educators with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.

“The Boston Conservatory has created opportunities that were previously not available to individuals and families affected by autism,” said Russ Kenn, executive director of Autism Speaks, New England. “It’s truly gratifying to see this level of commitment to our community where they not only receive top-quality music instruction, but also experience the sheer joy that the power of music can provide.”