Houston Symphony on cultivating a diverse musician roster

Posted on: September 26, 2018

“The Houston Symphony is similar to a lot of other symphonies, in terms of ethnic make-up,” ,” writes Allison Lee in Tuesday’s (9/25) Houston Public Media. “Flutist Judy Dines is the only African American musician in the orchestra…. She joined the Houston Symphony in 1992… The journey for these coveted orchestra positions is not an easy one.” Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, said a history of discrimination in the field means “many classical musicians … never even considered a career in orchestras, because they believed it wasn’t possible.” Also mentioned as barriers to diversity are the cost of training and low musician turnover at orchestras. Houston Symphony President and CEO John Mangum “said the Houston Symphony has made several efforts to cultivate diversity, including its Community Embedded Musicians…. The Symphony also has African American, Asian, and Hispanic Leadership Councils. This year the Houston Symphony also took part in the National Alliance for Audition Support, which helps African American and Latinx musicians with audition skills and participation. The goal is to increase their representation in orchestras…. ‘Who’s sitting on stage in the orchestra is a big component,’ ” said Mangum. Read about the National Alliance for Audition Support here

Posted September 26, 2018

In photo: The Houston Symphony, with flutist Judy Dines pictured at center, performs at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria, on March 15, 2017. Photo by Susanne Diesner