Percussionist Josh Jones. Photo courtesy Asa Orrin-Brown.

In last Monday’s (5/22) Kansas City Star, Matti Gellman wrote, “In early May, internationally acclaimed percussionist Josh Jones … felt like a very different Josh Jones: Principal percussionist of the Kansas City Symphony and—almost—the first Black man to receive tenure in the institution’s 40-year history. But that did not happen. Now, the 31-year-old has been denied tenure, leaving him with no job and no health care with less than a year left in his cancer treatment. He says the symphony held him, the only Black musician brought in for a long-term position, to a higher standard than his white counterparts…. In an initial, Nov. 11, 2021, letter assessing Jones’ performance on the tenure track, the symphony’s music director, Michael Stern … referred to him as ‘an exceptional talent’ and ‘an extraordinary citizen in the orchestra and the larger community.’ But [in] follow-up assessments, Stern revealed concerns over Jones’ ability to lead his section of the orchestra, culminating in a final Jan. 26 letter saying, ‘improvement in the various issues… was not sufficient’ … The CEO of the symphony, Danny Beckman, declined to comment on any specific matters relating to Jones, but told The Star, ‘Race is not a factor in these decisions.’ ”