“According to Census Bureau data, in 2014, the United States was effectively two-thirds white, one-third non-white. By 2060, that will flip,” writes Fred Bronstein in a Sunday (3/3) Baltimore Sun editorial. Bronstein is dean of the Peabody Institute, the music conservatory at Johns Hopkins University. “How is the classical music field adapting to this reality? Essentially, only on the margins. Sure, some major institutions pay attention. The Mellon Foundation is funding projects to expand the pipeline for young musicians of color. The League of American Orchestras advocates on this issue. The Sphinx Organization does important work. But classical music as a field now must put this issue front and center. Audiences of the future will have to be much more diverse than we can even dream of today. And audiences will only become truly diverse when the performers on our stages are diverse. Two years ago, the Peabody Institute made diversity one of five central pillars of our strategic plan…. Everyone in classical music leadership … must see diversity as more than the right thing to do…. It’s … a strategic imperative as fundamental to classical music’s survival as the creation of new work. In fact, it is a prerequisite for survival.” Bronstein was previously CEO of several U.S. orchestras.

Posted March 5, 2019

In photo: Wendel Patrick, who teaches the first hip-hop class offered at Peabody Conservatory, invited spoken-word artist Ursula Rucker to perform and speak about her experiences. Photo by Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun