Opinion: Classical music needs to evolve more rapidly

Posted on: February 4, 2022

“I played classical violin for nearly all of my childhood…. Weekly lessons, all levels of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, … summer music camp, all-state orchestra,” writes Naomi Ishisaka in Monday’s (1/31) Seattle Times. “Playing in a symphony orchestra was one of the most viscerally joyful, transcendent experiences of my life. But … in all of those years of playing, I never saw a woman conductor and, as far as I know, never played pieces by composers that were not white men. [In] mid-2000s … I first encountered … violinist Quinton Morris’ string ensemble, called The Young Eight, … [which] not only played the ‘classics’ but also performed arrangements of hip hop songs…. Morris is a tenured professor of violin at Seattle University and the founder and director of Key to Change, a nonprofit that provides underserved students access to high-quality music education….. In 2021, Morris became classical station KING FM’s artist scholar in residence … and started a monthly show called ‘Unmute the Voices,’ to showcase composers and performers of color…. Morris said, … ‘The field of classical music needs to evolve in its thinking. I think they’re trying to…. We’re at a point now where it’s time to make radical change.’ ”