U.S. Orchestras Gradually Diversify but Are Slow to Hire Black Musicians

Since the 2020 nationwide protests against social injustice, the orchestra has accelerated its efforts to promote inclusiveness. They are programming more works by women and people of color, seeking to extend their appeal beyond the musical norms traditionally dominated by white male composers. And it hires more staff from underrepresented groups (reports show that about 23 percent of orchestra staff are of color today, up from about 15 percent a decade ago). It has increased).

Arts leaders have in recent years built talent pipelines at conservatories, expanded access to youth orchestra programs, and provided financial support to musicians of color who audition through a program called National Audition Support. Focuses on providing assistance, coaching and other resources. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. (Athletes usually have to pay their own travel expenses to get to auditions, where hundreds of applicants can vie for a single position.) Some of these efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Some 150 Black and Latino musicians have won auditions since 2018. Played in an American orchestra with the help of the Alliance.

Afa Dworkin, president and artistic director of The Sphinx Organization, which works with the League and Miami’s New World Symphony Orchestra to help run audition assistance programs, said the industry needs to step up its efforts to: The report said it was clear. Support minority musicians and eliminate bias in hiring.

“There’s really no shortage of talent,” she says. “There are different classes of Black and Hispanic musicians who are ready to perform as part of America’s major orchestras.. And we haven’t engaged with them enough yet. “

The field of conducting has also diversified, such as music director and assistant conductor. People of color now make up 32 percent of those positions, up from 16 percent a decade ago. Jonathan Hayward was named the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s first black music director this fall, and was recently named next music director of Lincoln Center’s Summer Orchestra. Venezuelan-born star maestro Gustavo Dudamel will become the New York Philharmonic’s first Hispanic leader when he becomes Musical and Artistic Director in 2026.

Women are also on the podium, with the report showing that around 24 percent of conductors are now women, nearly double the proportion in 2013-2014. Nonetheless, they continue to be grossly underrepresented in the post of music director of leading orchestras. Of the 25 largest ensembles, Natalie Stutzman is the only woman to lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button