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Peabody in the 1930s

History of the Peabody Institute

George Peabody established the institute that bears his name as the "first major intellectual and arts center in an American city." Peabody's philanthropic vision transformed the cultural landscape of 19th-century Baltimore and extended the nation's intellectual horizons. George Peabody is considered to be the first modern philanthropist and the impact of his gift to Baltimore endures today: it was Peabody's inspiration that influenced Johns Hopkins to provide for the establishment of the university and hospital that bear his name, William and Henry Walters to found the world-famous art museum across Mount Vernon from The Peabody Institute, and Enoch Pratt to underwrite America's first public library two blocks south of Peabody.

The Peabody Institute has capitalized on its heritage and international stature to realize, and reach beyond, its founder's vision. The first of America's music schools, the Peabody Institute has taken its place among the worlds finest.  In Baltimore and Maryland, across the country, and on the international stage of major concert halls, Peabody artist faculty, alumni, and students have exerted a profound influence on musical life through 150 Years of Music for the World.

Celebrating 150 Years of Music for the World

To celebrate the sesquicentennial, the Peabody chapter of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association set out to compile a list of 150 alumni concerts during the month of February, 2007. The alumni responded in full force and performed in more than 220 performances in some 27 states and 14 countries during the month of February. From large orchestras in major concert halls, to intimate performances in private homes, to an "I Love Peabody" concert in North Carolina, Peabody alumni truly represented 150 Years of Music for the World.

Students of the Recording Arts and Sciences department set about creating a radio documentary charting the first 150 years of Peabody. Featuring readings of historic documents and interviews with Peabody students, alumni, and faculty, as well as local community leaders, the documentary is a sound-rich celebration of one of America's most prestigious conservatories of music. Jeffrey Sharkey, Director of the Peabody Institute, also speaks of present day Peabody and leads listeners to future successes of the Institute.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Peabody crowned the celebration of its 150th Anniversary with a Gala evening on Saturday, April 26th, 2008 attended by more than 500 patrons, friends, alumni, faculty and students. The evening raised $150,000 for the George Peabody 150th Anniversary Scholarship Fund to provide student financial aid.


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