Opinion: Why Black classical musicians and groups deserve support

Posted on: June 26, 2020

“The political discussion has turned to black businesses and institutions regarding how systemic racism has created a divide that reaches far beyond COVID-19,” writes Lee Pringle, founder and artistic director of the Charleston-based Colour of Music Festival, in Thursday’s (6/25) Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). “The black classical music world has experienced a devastating blow. Majority-white classical organizations generally have funded budgets for the season and endowment support.… It is no secret black Americans do not have access to a system designed to exclude them. Now in its eighth season of presenting black classical musicians, the Colour of Music Festival is the rare example of black classical excellence in the U.S. … Fortune 500 companies make statements like, ‘We support Black Lives Matter’ … but that support unfortunately will not include black organizations such as the Colour of Music Festival…. The percentage of black classical musicians in U.S. orchestras is calculated at 2%. The League of American Orchestras has implemented many initiatives to change this dismal representation, but it will take generations for those numbers to increase.… Each time the Colour of Music Festival presents, it is living proof of a … hope that one day … black expression can be appreciated and financially supported.”