Six musicians of color discuss lack of diversity in classical music

Posted on: August 13, 2020

“According to the most recent statistics available in a 2016 report released by the League of American Orchestras, the share of African American and Latino musicians in American orchestras stood at just 2.5 percent in 2014,” writes Kyle MacMillan in Tuesday’s (8/11) Chicago Sun-Times. “ ‘This is America, and for all the diversity that we do have, we are still rather segregated in many ways. And classical music is one of those places …,’ said bass-baritone John Orduña, one of three Black regular members of the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus…. The first step toward solutions, Orduña said, is for the classical field to acknowledge the problem and for orchestras and other organizations … to devote meaningful resources to solving it…. Violist Danny Lai, who was appointed to the Chicago Symphony in 2014 … pointed to the National Alliance for Audition Support, which was co-founded in 2018 by the Sphinx Organization, New World Symphony and League of American Orchestras. It provides Black and Latino musicians with such help as mentoring, audition preparation and stipends for travel to tryouts.” The article includes comments from Marlea Simpson, principal viola at Chicago Sinfonietta; Rika Seko, concertmaster of the Elmhurst Symphony; and others.