Timpanist Elayne Jones in 1965. Photo by Sam Falk/The New York Times.

“Elayne Jones, a timpanist who was said to be the first Black principal player in a major American orchestra when she joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1972, and who mounted a legal battle over racial and sexual discrimination when she was denied tenure two years later, died on Saturday at her home in Walnut Creek, Calif,” writes David Allen in Wednesday’s (12/21) New York Times (login may be required). “She was 94. Her daughter Cheryl Stanley said the cause was dementia. The charismatic, Juilliard-trained Ms. Jones was not only a rare woman among the orchestral percussionists of her time; she also helped lead a generation of Black musicians in confronting the pervasive—and enduring—racism of the classical music industry.” Jones performed with, among others, New York City Opera, and in 1958 she was a substitute at the New York Philharmonic, becoming the first Black musician to perform as part of that orchestra…. Leopold Stokowski, long a fan … tapped her for his American Symphony Orchestra, for which she performed until 1972. She was one of the driving forces behind the founding of the integrated Symphony of the New World in 1965.” Jones was a tenured musician with the San Francisco Opera until 1998.