Opinion: Paths forward to a more diverse, inclusive repertoire at orchestras

Posted on: April 6, 2018

“The American Composers Orchestra’s next season of concerts at Carnegie Hall has attracted some attention because most of the composers represented are women,” writes American Composers Orchestra Artistic Director Derek Bermel in Wednesday’s (4/6) NewMusicBox. “The truth is that we just programmed good music, and most of the composers turned out to be female…. One aspect of American orchestral programming has been pretty consistent: living composers are sidelined. Less new music begets less diversity on all levels…. At larger classical music institutions … within artistic and executive management there has been a great deal of discussion about the canon, and what steps orchestras might take to imagine a new, more inclusive repertoire…. Embedding a composer in the administration … can lay the groundwork. [At] the Los Angeles Philharmonic … longstanding curatorial and advisory relationships with living composers have helped the orchestra stay vibrant in its programming…. A peek at the Seattle Symphony’s next season demonstrates a similar commitment to a diverse range of composers…. Other smaller orchestras—Albany, Alabama, Princeton, to name a few—perform a healthy percentage of new work …. In any comprehensive discussion of marginalization and access, involving the next generation’s widest possible pool is a vital component.”

Posted April 6, 2018