Orchestras Must Recruit More Black and Latino Musicians, Says Sphinx President

From Brian Wise, at WQXR, New York Public Radio:

American orchestras are falling backwards when it comes to hiring black and Latino musicians. Aaron Dworkin, the president and founder of the nonprofit Sphinx Organization, offered a stinging critique of the orchestra field in a speech Tuesday night at Carnegie Hall, saying that symphonies aren’t doing nearly enough to diversify their ranks through recruitment or fellowship programs.

Noting that four percent of orchestra players in the U.S. are black and Latino, Dworkin said that major ensembles routinely hold auditions without actively reaching out to identify candidates of color.

Dworkin was especially critical of the New York Philharmonic, saying that the orchestra has not had a black member in five years. It also does not have any Latinos. During the 1960s, Leonard Bernstein made a point of recruiting the violinist Sanford Allen, its first black musician.

“At what point are we actually going to all feel impelled to act in our professional capacities?” Dworkin asked.

A Philharmonic spokesperson responded, “We recognize this is a very important issue facing the orchestral landscape and classical music as a whole, and we are supportive of Aaron Dworkin and the Sphinx Organization’s efforts in this area. We look forward to continued dialogue with Mr. Dworkin in addressing these issues.”

Read the full article.