Diversity and inclusion take center stage at League of American Orchestras Conference

Posted on: June 18, 2018

The League of American Orchestras’ National Conference, June 13-15 in Chicago, “included the country’s most prestigious ensembles and its smaller community and training orchestras,” writes Nancy Malitz in Saturday’s (6/16) Chicago Sun-Times. “Top-of-the-mind issues for the thousand people attending were diversity and disruption: how to keep up with, and more quickly adapt to, the astonishing creative energy that’s bubbling up from vibrant women, people of color, and young entrepreneurs in the music field…. League attendees witnessed a number of impressive developments to help orchestras become more inclusive and to engage their complex communities: Audiences were on their feet as singer Takesha Meshé Kizart joined Yo-Yo Ma and musicians from the Chicago Civic Orchestra to perform … Mei-Ann Chen, music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, noted that her orchestra programmed nine works by female composers out of a total of 20 works played during the 2018-18 season … Afa S. Dworkin, president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization, speaking to a packed room at a symposium on inclusiveness, noted several conspicuously successful initiatives on behalf of young African-American and Latino musicians … A vast composer database at https://composerdiversity.com/ is now sortable for 3,182 works by female composers, 2,982 by composers still living, in addition to sorting for many other demographics and musical styles.” Check the League’s website for a Conference Highlights page, coming soon, with videos, presentations, and more, and the Fall 2018 issue of Symphony magazine.

In photo: The Inclusive and Equitable Orchestras—Performance and Conversation session at the League of American Orchestras’ National Conference on June 14 in Chicago. Jeri Lynne Johnson (at right), founder and artistic director of Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, moderates a discussion with (from left) Demarre McGill, principal flute, Seattle Symphony, and Anthony McGill, principal clarinet, New York Philharmonic. The session included a performance by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras with Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill, and by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Percussion Scholarship Group. Photo by Dan Rest

Posted June 18, 2018