Cincinnati Symphony cellist, helping young minority musicians get a start

Posted on: February 8, 2016

“In a small room in the basement of Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts, Norman Johns is teaching, cajoling, inspiring and laughing with four students who are learning a Mozart String Quartet,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Friday’s (2/5) Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio). Johns, assistant principal cellist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “is sharing his expertise…. He calls it ‘playing it forward.’ This season, the orchestra and its Multicultural Awareness Council—‘MAC’—are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Norman E. Johns Chair Award, a scholarship awarded to minority [middle-school and high-school] musicians to pay for their tuition in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra…. The representation of black and Latino musicians in American orchestras is still just 4.3 percent. It’s the topic of the cover story of this month’s Symphony, the magazine of the League of American Orchestras,” featuring a discussion among African-American orchestral musicians and League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. In the article, Herb Smith, third trumpet with the Rochester Philharmonic and a Cincinnati native, “says how critical it was for him to be able to play in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, and sit side-by-side with professional musicians in joint concerts with the CSO.”
Click here to read “How Can Orchestras Become More Diverse?” in the Winter 2016 issue of Symphony.

Posted February 8, 2016