Jonathon Heyward leads the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and soloist Simone Lamsma at Lincoln Center in New York. Heyward will succeed Louis Langrèe as the orchestra’s music director next season. Photo by Lawrence Sumulong.

In last Monday’s (8/7) New York Times, Oussama Zahr writes, “The back side of David Geffen Hall [features] Nina Chanel Abney’s installation ‘San Juan Heal,’ [which honors] the largely Black and Puerto Rican neighborhood that was torn down to make way for Lincoln Center in the mid-20th century…. Are there [now] more people of color on the building than inside it? If the installation is both a nod to the past and a hope for the future, then what is Lincoln Center doing to get there? The Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, which has taken up residence at Geffen Hall for two and a half weeks as part of Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City programming, has a lot of ideas on that front…. The ensemble’s concerts began with a premiere by the Iraqi American composer Amir ElSaffar … and continued with programs—led by Thomas Wilkins, Gemma New and Jonathon Heyward—that featured contemporary works about identity and equity while otherwise sticking to the orchestra’s unofficial remit of familiar repertoire.” Composers included Samuel Barber, Sarah Gibson, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Robert Schumann. “Wilkins … and Heyward gave a platform to Black composers: Adolphus Hailstork, Xavier Foley, Jessie Montgomery and Fela Sowande…. The festival featured a diverse lineup of composers too, but the choices—William Grant Still, Joseph Boulogne and Florence Price—have sometimes crowded out contemporary composers. The recent programs, though, reflect an evolution in a more substantive direction toward true inclusivity…. If the delighted reactions of the large, diverse crowds … are any indication, it’s working.”