Opinion: Charlotte Symphony remains committed to cultural equity

Posted on: March 12, 2021

In response to a February 23 article about the Charlotte Arts & Science Council’s apology for its role in perpetuating and worsening inequities against Blacks and other minorities, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra board member Mike Rutledge submitted a letter to Thursday’s (3/11) Charlotte Observer. “I applaud, and share, the Arts & Science Council’s deep commitment to cultural equity. However, I worry that their labeling of the Charlotte Symphony as a ‘white, Western Eurocentric organization’ in their Cultural Equity Report could undermine that goal by perpetuating the stereotype that orchestral music is only created by, and for, certain people. It’s true that symphonies in the U.S. originate from a European tradition—that’s part of our story. But we’ve grown tremendously to truly be an American orchestra for the 21st century, performing a wide range of music from composers of diverse backgrounds; increasing access through partnerships with schools, hospitals, and community centers; and offering free/low cost concert tickets and tuition to remove financial barriers. As we continue to evolve, we’re committed to being a partner for our community in the area of cultural equity and to work with others, like the ASC, to break down barriers created by systemic racism and provide access to music for everyone.”