Newly minted League of American Orchestras President and CEO, Simon Woods, published a commentary piece at Medium that spells out his thoughts on issues the field should be prioritizing.
By and large, it’s a good read. He hits several strong topics squarely on the nose that a few years ago, were actively avoided such as racial equality and elitism.
The only items missing from his list that ranks alongside racial equality is sexual misconduct and equal work for equal pay.
While the post does an excellent job at highlighting what issues are, it’s noticeably light on what he proposes to do in his position to begin instituting positive change.
Granted, one of the biggest challenges for anyone running a performing arts service organization is staking a claim. Doing so risks alienating a segment of supporters, or worse, advocating for middle ground that only upsets everyone.
Having said that, decades of safe positions helped produce all the issues called out in his post. Consequently, no one should expect to see the field make significant advances on problems like racial equality and sexual misconduct without instituting clearly defined programs with quantifiable results.
Can anyone think of a more opportune time to abandon the practice of trying to catch up by going slower? I can’t and I hope the onset of Woods’ tenure at the League will be marked with more distinction on these topics than his predecessors. I’m certainly rooting for him on all those fronts.