Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
As the first African American and first female dean of the Bienen School, and as a performer of music by African American composers, I understand the importance of representation and visibility in classical music on both professional and personal levels. As a community, we must work to incorporate more voices and contributions of BIPOC and diverse groups in our music curricula and public events—a goal I have fostered throughout my tenure as dean.
Bienen School faculty, staff and administrators are committed to advancing change to help combat racism in the field of classical music. The goals of our DEI initiatives are to expand the repertoire studied and performed at the Bienen School and present music by diverse composers to the campus and greater Chicagoland communities. Through these ongoing projects, we aim to not only address our mission of training the next generation of musicians but also serve and educate our public audiences.
About the Dean
Toni-Marie Montgomery was the founding pianist of the Black Music Repertory Ensemble of Columbia College of Chicago. This fifteen-member ensemble specialized in performing works by black composers and promoted appreciation for the black musical heritage. Montgomery has performed throughout the United States and in Austria, Brazil, Hawaii, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, including recent chamber music concerts with cellist Anthony Elliott. Montgomery is a longtime board member of the Gateways Music Festival, which celebrates the historical and current contributions and achievements of classical musicians of African descent. She was elected secretary of the Gateways board for 2021. Montgomery has participated in several recent virtual panel discussions and webinars related to DEI topics (see videos below).