Local musicians press Boston Symphony to program music by women and people of color; orchestra meets with group

Posted on: December 20, 2017

“A group of more than 60 area musicians is urging the Boston Symphony Orchestra to expand its programming beyond a white male canon to feature more works by female composers and people of color,” writes Malcolm Gay in Wednesday’s (12/20) Boston Globe. “Of the 73 pieces scheduled to be performed [in 2017-18] at Symphony Hall, only one is by a woman, the group noted…. In response to the musicians’ October letter, the BSO issued a five-page letter of its own, acknowledging the group’s concerns, defending the symphony’s commitment to diversity, and inviting representatives of the group to a meeting that took place Monday…. The letter included an exhaustive list of female composers whose work the BSO has featured at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, and elsewhere since 2008.… An orchestra spokeswoman said BSO managing director Mark Volpe, Tanglewood director Anthony Fogg, and other administrators attended Monday’s meeting…. She described the conversation as ‘productive.’ … J. Andrés Ballesteros … who organized the letter, said he was ‘very pleased’ with how the conversation went…. [In their letter] Ballesteros and his fellow signatories ask the BSO to make significant programming changes [including adding] at least five additional works by women or minorities to the 2017-18 season.”

Posted December 20, 2017

Pictured: The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Andris Nelsons in Boston’s Symphony Hall. Photo by Chris Lee