Black Orchestral Network launches, seeks to make orchestras more inclusive and equitable

Posted on: May 3, 2022

On May 2, Black members of more than 40 orchestras announced the Black Orchestral Network (BON), a collective of Black orchestral musicians dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for Black people in the orchestral field. Seven Black musicians founded the Black Orchestral Network: Jennifer Arnold, Alexander Laing, David A. Norville, Joy Payton-Stevens, Shea Scruggs, Weston Sprott, and Titus Underwood. The organization’s first public campaign is an open letter, “Dear American Orchestras,” focused on advancing equity and inclusion in American orchestras. Artists, audience members, educators, music lovers, culture bearers, and enthusiasts are invited to co-sign the letter, which calls for orchestras to hire Black musicians and support opportunities for emerging Black artists; for funders to invest in the long-term viability of organizations already committed to Black orchestral artistry; and for unions to stand in solidarity with Black members by honoring the values of fair workplaces and addressing barriers to fair and equitable audition and tenure practices. In addition, the organization has called for a Day of Solidarity on May 9, asking supporters to promote the campaign by posting a graphic, provided by BON, to their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter timelines, with the hashtag  #DearAmericanOrchestras.Day of Solidarity. For more information, visit https://black-orchestral-network.squarespace.com/.