After discovering the African American Voice in Classical Music on Sunday, I was up until 1:00 a.m. Monday morning perusing various web sites devoted to African Americans in classical music. I ended up listening to a podcast, Black Classical Musicians Rewriting the Odds, part one of a two part series on African Americans in classical music, which was produced by WQXR in New York City. WQXR’s Terrance McKnight interviewed “…Anthony McGill, the principal clarinetist at the Metropolitan Opera; Morris Robinson, a bass who regularly sings at prestigious houses like the Met, LA Opera and Atlanta Opera; and Kelly Hall-Tompkins, a violinist who performs with several groups including the Mark O’Connor String Quartet.” The artists discussed their exposure and introduction to the classical genre and how they decided to pursue their respective careers. If you know a young aspiring classical musician or opera singer, encourage them to listen this interview.
Part two, Confronting the System, was a provocative conversation about the dearth of African Americans working in the classical arena and strategies arts organizations are taking and/or should consider taking to increase diversity. Terrance McKnight spoke with “…decision-makers and experts in classical music: Alison Scott-Williams, the Associate Vice President for Diversity and Campus Life at Juilliard; Ed Yim, the director of artistic planning at New York City Opera; and Mark Kent, the Senior Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, where he oversees the Talent Development Program.”
You’ll need an hour to listen to both programs. It will be time well spent!