U.K.’s Royal Schools of Music urged to increase representation of Black composers on syllabuses

Posted on: July 20, 2020

“The exam board of Britain’s royal schools of music is being urged to address the legacy of its colonial origins after research found 99% of pieces on its syllabuses were by white composers,” writes David Batty in Wednesday’s (7/15) Guardian (U.K.). “Almost 4,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) … to include ‘black composers who have shaped the course of western classical music.’ … Music students, teachers and musicians said the overwhelmingly white curriculum was deterring black talent from applying to … the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Northern College of Music…. Chi-chi Nwanoku, the founder of the Chineke! Foundation, which runs the first professional and junior orchestras in Europe made up of mostly of black and minority ethnic musicians, described the ‘woeful lack’ of ethnic diversity in the ABRSM syllabus as appalling.… An ABRSM spokesman said the death of George Floyd in the US had made it think deeply about its efforts to get more black composers in its syllabuses [and has] committed to launch a mentorship scheme in September for BAME [Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic] composers.”