National Alliance for Audition Support aims to tackle lack of diversity at American orchestras

Posted on: July 16, 2018

“Nathaniel Taylor was five years old when the deep, mellow sounds from a cello on Sesame Street commanded his attention,” reports Matthew Vann on Saturday’s (7/14) NBC News. “Years later, when he began learning the cello, classical music stole his heart. Now Taylor, 25, is trying to pursue a professional career playing the instrument he loves, but he’ll need to break into the austere world of classical music for that to happen. That’s a path filled with numerous challenges—arguably more so for Taylor, who’s half African-American and half Filipino. Most classical music professionals in major symphony orchestras around the country … aren’t as diverse as the cities they serve. African-Americans make up 1.8 percent of orchestras nationwide while Hispanics make up 2.5 percent, according to an industry-wide study. Those statistics inspired [the League of American Orchestras, Sphinx Organization, and New World Symphony] to form the National Alliance for Audition Support, which prepares talented musicians of color for auditions…. The group, supported by $1.8 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, pairs participants with mentors and offers them financial support as they travel across the country for tryouts…. The alliance ‘provides coaching and intensive audition preparation experience,’ ” said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

Posted July 16, 2018

Pictured: Cellist Nathaniel Taylor, 25, is among the musicians who participated in the recent National Alliance for Audition Support program in Miami Beach, Florida.