That’s the title of Rory Williams’ article in the latest edition of Strings magazine which examines the Vienna Philharmonic’s past practice of no girls allowed along with the role female musicians play in leadership positions within US orchestras. Williams draws on figures from the orchestra compensation reports here at Adaptistration and his piece certainly gets you thinking…
The article is a good companion piece to an article in the February, 2010 Strings by Louise Lee that examines minority representation within the ranks of orchestra musicians. Undoubtedly, this issue is one that although it is improving, the nature of attrition and shrinking positions means it will likely be a slow churn before things really start to change.
But for all the worthwhile public discussion about ethnic diversity on stage, there is comparably little talk about it among the ranks of orchestra executives and board officers. Certainly, women comprise a strong ratio but that’s not entirely surprising given that nonprofit organizations have a long history of recruiting women administrators. But ethnic diversity throughout senior executive positions at 52 week orchestras is worse than on stage.
In fact, I can’t think of a single African-American, Hispanic, or other ethnic minority that occupies the CEO position at a 52 week orchestra (if I’m missing someone, please speak up!). As it turns out, we touched on this topic a bit way back in 2004 by way of a series of articles about ethnic diversity; some of which feature some excellent insight by Jerome Harris, a self described 50-something professional jazz musician, black American, native Brooklynite, working-class background/Ivy League grad/middle-class income, and omnivorous listener.
What do you think? For all the talk about ethnic diversity on stage as a key component to improving relevancy, shouldn’t the same arguments apply to executive administrators and board officers? Are they apples and oranges? I’m very curious to hear what you have to say.