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It’s Time to Make Orchestras Great Again — By Making Them Blacker

Classical music is unsafe in White hands alone

Photo: suteishi/Getty Images
Deutsche Welle Interview: Classical Music Can Change the Racial Conscience of Society (Video)

Why should London’s people of color care about orchestras if they care nothing for them?

Out of sight, out of mind

The meritocracy myth

Self-worth for sale

London Bridge is falling down

A vanity affair

Give Black a chance

  • Orchestras should hire their first Black music directors. The top 15 U.S. orchestras have never done this.
  • Take down the audition screen. We must counter White networks, cronyism, and decades-long segregation. Affirmative action in the audition and tenure process must favor Black candidates. No more advantaged teachers’ pets, and section players greenlit to the final round.
  • Hire Black conductors for masterworks programs. Let the industry know we are capable arbiters of classical music. We’re not only good for MLK Day, Black History Month, and holiday concerts.
  • Release orchestra principal musicians’ pay with racial and gender demographics.
  • Release guest artist fees with racial and gender demographics.
  • Composers and masterworks programming must reflect a community’s racial demographics. It signifies cultural membership and that music from the hands of POC matters. The songs of dead old White men are a broken record!
  • Annually and publicly report complete racial demographics of audiences, guest artists, composers, executive and artistic administrations, boards of directors, and orchestra musicians compared to their immediate community’s racial demographics.
  • Recording agencies must publish the racial demographics of artists.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts must deny grant funding to all orchestras and musical institutions that refuse to comply entirely with the above.
  • Orchestras that don’t comply should lose nonprofit status and get taxed at a higher rate. White-only nonprofits are private clubs; therefore, nonprofit status shouldn’t apply. The government has provided tax shelter for nonprofits who practice White supremacy for long enough.
Brandon Keith Brown conductor/Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra



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Brandon Keith Brown

Prize-Winning Stick Waver/Slinger of Sounds| Speaker | Educator | ARTivist. Engineering Society from the Podium | http://ko-fi.com/maestrobkb