National Alliance for Audition Support: increasing diversity by leveling the playing field

Posted on: June 21, 2018

“American orchestras are overwhelmingly white,” writes Nadege Green on Wednesday (6/20) at radio station WLRN (Miami/South Florida). “The National Alliance for Audition Support—a collaboration between the Sphinx Organization, New World Symphony and the League of American Orchestras—wants to change that. The alliance recently held its first audition workshops in Miami Beach for black and Latino string musicians. The three-day intensive dissected the different parts of the audition process and, informally, it was also a convening for classical musicians of color.… Gabrielle Skinner, who plays the viola with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra … said in most orchestral settings she’s typically the only person of color or one of a few. ‘It’s really nice to be able to be around everyone this week,’ … she said.” Violist Ed Gazuleas, who was a master teacher at the workshop, said musicians are “at a disadvantage if they can’t afford private lessons or come from school districts that don’t fund music education. ‘We need to find those people and train them so that these orchestras are not just more diverse, they’re better,’ said Gazuleas…. Johnniah Stigall, the project manager for the National Alliance for Audition Support … said providing direct financial support is one of the most effective ways to level the playing field.”

Posted June 21, 2018

Pictured: The National Alliance for Audition Support brought together classical string musicians for a workshop in Miami Beach earlier this month. Photo by Siggi Bachmann / New World Symphony