Classical-hip hop fusion violinist Ezinma hopes to bring classical music to underserved children, kicking off the launch of Strings By Heart with a series of performances in Harlem on Friday.
Ezinma, whose full name is Meredith Ezinma Ramsay, has performed with many headliners including Beyoncé, Yo-Yo Ma, SZA, Kendrick Lamar and Joshua Bell. She is known for her viral music videos, which fans dubbed her “Classical Bae”. She wrote the score for the 2018 documentary The Bill Cunningham era and worked on the music for the blockbuster Black Panther.
His motivation to start the foundation stems from his own personal experiences of music education, “I remember the isolation I felt as the only black person in the orchestra, sometimes discouraged by my teachers from pursuing my dream”, she says of her time studying in her native Lincoln, Nebraska and the Mannes School of Music.
She continues, “Statistics clearly show that music education plays a vital role in helping children and young adults get on the path to achieving their goals, improving their self-esteem and more.
“Children from all walks of life and from all communities deserve the chance to discover the joy of classical music and to feel like they belong in this world. And what better genre than hip-hop to introduce young minds to the vast potential of classical music?
Black and Latino musicians are historically underrepresented in classical orchestras, making up less than 4% of orchestra members in the United States.
On Friday, Ezinma will visit three elementary and middle schools in Harlem: PS 197 John B Russwurm, PS 133 Fred R Moore and Isaac Newton Middle School for Math and Science. She will perform interactive demonstrations to encourage students to apply for Strings By Heart’s music education program.
The organization hopes to equip, educate and empower students by providing private and group lessons, access to instruments and cultural events with a community-focused approach. Students will be encouraged to try out instruments, participate in listening activities, with the aim of creating enthusiasm for learning something new and developing a relationship with other students.