Orchestras look to deepen connection with minority communities

Posted on: January 25, 2013

In Thursday’s (1/24) Fresno Bee (California), Donald Munro writes, “How do people ‘enter’ the world of classical music? Some are born into it. The lucky ones have a parent who plays an instrument. … Elena Urioste, the acclaimed 26-year-old violinist playing with the Fresno Philharmonic in this weekend’s ‘Beloved Beethoven’ concerts, didn’t spend her earliest years in one of those classical cocoons. As a two-time winner of the national Sphinx Competition, which honors outstanding young musicians of Latino and black descent, she often talks to school groups about her own classical music journey. You don’t have to be ‘born into’ classical music, she tells them. As a musician of color, she knows she can be a role model to all children—children who don’t see a lot of classical musicians who look like her in American culture … ‘Orchestras all over the U.S. are trying new ways to engage more diverse audiences,’ says Judith Kurnick, vice president for strategic communications for the League of American Orchestras. … For the Fresno Philharmonic, of course, an obvious audience to cultivate is the Latino community. … Stephen Wilson, the philharmonic’s executive director, says orchestras across the country are realizing how important it is to broaden audiences. ‘It’s incumbent upon us to be welcoming, to set ticket prices that are broadly affordable, and to program in a way that reflects the community,’ he says.”

Posted January 25, 2013