Anthony Parnther conducts the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Photo by George Lange.

In Thursday’s (2/8) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jeremy Reynolds writes, “The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra … on Saturday performed a concert specifically designed to invite Black Pittsburghers into Heinz Hall. The crowd that lined up for the ‘Lift Every Voice’ concert was indeed more diverse than for a typical classical concert, as was the programming. Gospel singer and Grammy-nominated Oleta Adams headlined … The Lift Every Voice Unity Choir, made up of singers from a dozen area churches, soloed and provided backing vocals, and guest conductor Anthony Parnther led … The concert has been an annual tradition at the symphony since 2018. It’s part of an explicit effort to promote Black artists and, according to the concert’s mission statement, ‘improve equity within the Pittsburgh arts community.’… For centuries, classical music organizations overall were unquestionably exclusive and barred women, Blacks and other minorities from full participation … That’s changed dramatically for some groups … According to a 2023 League of American Orchestras study, orchestras have reached gender parity at 52% male players and 48% female players…. Hispanic and Latin American players are underrepresented at about 5%, and Black musicians are even scarcer, making up only 2.4% of orchestral players…. Increasing Black representation … [means] that having community-reflective diversity on stage can help everyone see themselves in the art.”