On February 24, the Atlanta-based organization Challenge the Stats will present a free concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta featuring eleven African American and Latino musicians. The concert is a celebration of diversity in classical performing arts. The concert will include the world premiere of a composition for harp and tenor by Joel Thompson; a cello sextet led by Ismail Akbar, cello instructor at Clayton State University; and commentary by Paula Grissom-Broughton, chair of music at Spelman College. At a pre-concert dinner and panel discussion, NPR host Lois Reitzes will speak with Atlanta arts leaders and musicians about how to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable arts field. Founded by harpist Angelica Hairston, Challenge the Stats aims to empower artists of color by creating communities devoted to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the classical performing arts. Hairston is an alumna of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and is currently artistic director of the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble in Atlanta. The first Challenge the Stats concert was held in Boston in 2016.

Posted February 6, 2018