New York arts institutions, confronting urgent challenges as fall season begins

Posted on: September 8, 2021

“It’s hard to know what the performances this fall will feel like. The very experience of gathering in concert halls is in flux with the lingering challenges of the pandemic,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Monday’s (9/6) New York Times. “Other crucial issues loom…. When nationwide protests against racial injustice broke out after the killing of George Floyd, classical music was forced to grapple anew with questions of relevance, diversity and inclusion…. The Metropolitan Opera … will open its return season with [Terence Blanchard’s] ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones,’ … shockingly, … the first opera by a Black composer to be presented by the company since its founding in 1883…. As for the New York Philharmonic … some intriguing programs reveal serious attempts to bring in composers from underrepresented groups and to showcase exciting younger artists…. Carnegie Hall’s… opening night … offers Yannick Nézet-Séguin … and the Philadelphia Orchestra [in music by Beethoven, Bernstein, Valerie Coleman, Iman Habibi, and Shostakovich]…. It may well be that … hearing even standard works played beautifully will feel restorative, almost miraculous. Yet given … the urgent challenges that remain, I hope … institutions try harder to connect and engage, to foster living composers and new generations of artists.”