In Texas, Baytown Symphony names Clarence Frank, its longtime cellist, as music director

Posted on: February 25, 2021

“Clarence Frank’s love of classical music led to him to a career as a conductor, music educator and cellist—he’s played in the Baytown Symphony for about 25 years—and in January he was named the orchestra’s new music director and first African American conductor in its 53-year history,” writes Catherine Lu in Wednesday’s (2/24) Houston Public Media. “His appointment comes at a time when only about 4.3% of U.S. orchestra conductors and less than 2% of orchestra musicians are African American, according to a study by the American League of Orchestras…. ‘In the classical music world, or in the symphony world, there’s not a lot of people of color,’ Frank said. ‘So [this appointment] just means a great deal to me.’ … Frank said he aims to use his position to build more diverse audiences by highlighting underrepresented composers…. As a Baytown native, he also plans to feature ‘hometown heroes’—local musicians who have gone on to great things [and will] program a gospel Christmas concert in collaboration with … African American choirs in the area. Frank’s first concert … is tentatively scheduled for April…. Frank said his appointment is an indication that change, however slow, is coming.”