In Friday’s (6/16) New York Times, Javier C. Hernández writes, “American orchestras, which have come under scrutiny in recent years for their lack of diversity, have made some inroads in hiring more Asian and Latino players over the past decade. But according to a new study, they have barely moved the needle in addressing the persistent dearth of Black musicians. Over all, people of color now make up about 21 percent of orchestra players nationwide, according to a study [Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the Orchestra Field in 2023] by the League of American Orchestras, up from 14 percent in the 2013-14 season. But the study found that the share of Black players, who have long been underrepresented, barely shifted, rising to 2.4 percent from 1.8 percent. While there were some encouraging signs—the share of women conducting, for example, nearly doubled—the report, presented at the League’s annual conference in Pittsburgh on Friday, will likely renew concerns about the slow pace of change in classical music as the field reckons with a history of exclusion. ‘I have never felt so much urgency for change and seen so much sincere work for change,’ said Simon Woods, the president and chief executive of the orchestra league. ‘But there’s no denying the fact that we, as a field, have to believe it can go faster.’ ” The article includes commentary from Titus Underwood, principal oboe at the Nashville Symphony; Lina González-Granados, resident conductor of the Los Angeles Opera; and Afa Dworkin, president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization.

On June 10, WWFM (NJ) host Rachel Katz discussed the report with Woods and interviewed arts activist Garrett McQueen about ways to further progress in equity, diversity, and inclusion at U.S. orchestras.