University of Iowa School of Music and its orchestras aim to increase diversity

Posted on: February 24, 2021

“Classical music in America has been historically and predominantly white,” writes Abby McClusker in Monday’s (2/22) Daily Iowan, the student newspaper of the University of Iowa. “At the University of Iowa, which offers students the opportunity to join three different orchestras, the orchestral ensembles have improved diversity in the repertoire performed by students, but the School of Music has still struggled with diversifying the student population as a whole…. William LaRue Jones, a UI professor of music and director of orchestral studies since 1997, said orchestra ensembles have made diversity among repertoire a priority.… Doctoral conducting student and teaching assistant Megan Maddaleno said she views this embrace of new repertoire as the catalyst necessary for lasting change in orchestral ensembles, and the music industry as a whole…. Another aspect to consider is whether musicians within the ensembles come from diverse backgrounds. A 2016 study conducted by the League of American Orchestras found that the number of African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and other non-white groups in orchestras remain very low…. Within the orchestra program and the School of Music, there are scholarships for underserved populations…. The school is also taking steps to diversify its faculty.”