U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

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lennygoran
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U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:24 am

U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

The recent discussions over racial justice and gender disparities appear to have accelerated efforts to bring more diversity to classical music.



By Javier C. Hernández
June 21, 2022

American orchestras have long fallen short when it comes to performing compositions by women and people of color, sticking to a canon of music dominated by white, largely male composers.

But the protests over racial justice and gender disparities in the United States appear to have prompted some change.

Compositions by women and people of color now make up about 23 percent of the pieces performed by orchestras, up from only about 5 percent in 2015, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Institute for Composer Diversity at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The increase comes amid a concerted effort in the performing arts to promote music by women and people of color, prompted in part by the #MeToo movement and the death of George Floyd.

“The change that has been talked about for a very long time has suddenly been tremendously accelerated,” Simon Woods, president and chief executive of the League of American Orchestras, which helped produce the report, said in an interview.

The coronavirus pandemic, which posed a threat to many institutions, seems to have also contributed to the change. Before the pandemic started, many ensembles took a more traditional approach to programming, planning their seasons years in advance. The virus has appeared to have led to experimentation.

“The pandemic has been kind of a jolt to the patterns that we’ve known for so long,” Woods said, allowing orchestras “to be much more responsive.”

Over all, ensembles seem to be embracing more music written by contemporary artists. This season, works by living composers made up about 22 percent of the pieces performed by orchestras, compared with 12 percent in 2015. The report was based on data from hundreds of orchestras across the United States.


Many ensembles in recent years have taken steps to nurture the composing careers of women and people of color. The New York Philharmonic, for example, in 2020 started Project 19, a multiyear initiative to commission works from 19 female composers to honor the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which brought women the right to vote.

While orchestras have shown a greater willingness to program works by living composers in recent years, several obstacles remain, including that some new music is performed only once.

The League of American Orchestras, aiming to make works by living composers a more permanent part of the orchestral landscape, announced an initiative last month to enlist 30 ensembles in the next several years to perform new pieces by six composers, all of them women.


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/21/arts ... ities.html

maestrob
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by maestrob » Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:33 am

This is all good. This past season, in the concerts we attended, the quality of the contemporary works has moved from screechy to very listenable while being inventive. On one occasion (Philadelphia Orchestra) we heard a symphony by Florence Price and, while not up to the standards of Dvorak, her symphony was a pleasure to become acquainted with.

Not every work on a program has to be profound.

diegobueno
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by diegobueno » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:45 am

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:33 am
Not every work on a program has to be profound.
Indeed, during the 19th century, when it was expected that a good deal of an orchestra's programing would be of contemporary works by living composers, a lot of what was presented was trivial, or merely pleasant, and if any of the selections were of artistic substance or profundity, that was an added bonus (or annoyance)

Anyway, I've looked at the programming of the National Symphony for next season and here is the breakdown:

African-American
Carlos Simon -- This Land; and a new work as of yet untitled.
Samy Moussa -- Nocturne
George Walker -- Sinfonias no. 2, 3 and 5 (completing a cycle of Walker Sinfonias begun the previous season)
William Grant Still -- Symphony no. 2

Women
Sofia Gubaidulina -- The Rider on a White Horse
Fanny Mendelssohn -- Overture in C

African-American women
Jessie Montgomery -- Hymn for Everyone
Florence Price -- Piano Concerto
Black lives matter.

diegobueno
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by diegobueno » Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:20 pm

The other professional orchestra in the DC area, the National Philharmonic, is performing the following in the 22/23 season:

African-American
Chevalier de St. George -- Symphony no. 1 in G
Carlos Simon -- Fate Now Conquers

Women
Louise Farrenc -- Symphony no. 3

African-American women
Florence Price -- Violin Concerto no. 2
Black lives matter.

lennygoran
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:13 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:20 pm
The other professional orchestra in the DC area, the National Philharmonic,
I looked at both of your messages-am not familiar with a single one of the works you've listed. Regards, Len :(

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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by diegobueno » Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:24 am

lennygoran wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:13 pm
diegobueno wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:20 pm
The other professional orchestra in the DC area, the National Philharmonic,
I looked at both of your messages-am not familiar with a single one of the works you've listed. Regards, Len :(
That's why they're performing these pieces.
Black lives matter.

diegobueno
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by diegobueno » Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:36 am

lennygoran: Here you go!

Here's an excerpt from Carlos Simon's "Fate Now Conquers"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCapNmEEFhs

Florence Price Violin Concerto no. 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMRTUl-rNkc

Louise Farrenc Symphony no. 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv3LXXlmwNs

Chevalier de St. George Symphony no. 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGvYgTlsLes
Black lives matter.

lennygoran
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:56 am

diegobueno wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:36 am
lennygoran: Here you go!

Here's an excerpt from Carlos Simon's "Fate Now Conquers"
Thanks, I'll get to all these! Regards, Len :)

maestrob
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by maestrob » Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:41 am

Yes, thanks for those, Mark!

I'm familiar with Joseph Boulogne's Symphony No. 1 as recorded by Paul Freeman in the Black Composers' Series, but I'll be glad to explore the others.

Modernistfan
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by Modernistfan » Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:47 am

I do not believe that Samy Moussa is Black, by the way. He was born in Canada and, from his name, I would assume that he was of Arab origin, but photos of him do not suggest that he is Black. Nevertheless, he is still a very interesting composer. (If we are considering composers of Middle Eastern origin as minorities, where does that leave composers like Richard Danielpour, born in the United States of Iranian-Jewish parents?)

diegobueno
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Re: U.S. Orchestras Playing More Works by Women and Minorities, Report Says

Post by diegobueno » Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:17 pm

Well, whatever he is, Samy Moussa's Nocturne can be heard here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Cq-C2e ... rt_radio=1

The piece starts somewhere between the 27:00 and 28:00 mark. Unbelievably, the first 27 minutes of the video shows audience members slowly entering the hall. Anyway, the piece is very colorful.
Black lives matter.

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