Opinion: lack of economic privilege and opportunity exclude emerging classical musicians

Posted on: July 8, 2022

“In our field of Western classical music, we often set the expectation with young musicians that if they are just talented enough, hard-working enough, or entrepreneurial enough, they will find themselves on a pathway to success,” writes Juhi Bansal in Monday’s (7/6) I Care If You Listen. “But as anyone who has worked with graduating college and conservatory students knows, this is a very incomplete truth…. We have made measurable strides over the last few years in supporting underrepresented composers, diversifying the voices we champion, and trying to build alternatives to the top-down, stylistically narrow, white-male-centered culture that was the norm in classical music for centuries. But … under these positive currents, you don’t have to dig far down to see musicians walking away from the creative art they have poured time, blood, sweat, and tears into. And very often when we press to understand why, the answer is money and opportunity…. It often feels like we are afraid to say out loud what so many of us have seen or experienced—that the workings of money and opportunity in classical music present an insurmountable obstacle that pushes talented musicians out.”