Perspective And Pushback To Tommasini’s Commentary On Blind Auditions

The 9/10/2020 edition of New York Times published a follow-up article to the opinion piece written by Anthony Tommasini in paper’s 7/16/2020 publication. The follow-up is intriguing in that if contains several noteworthy perspectives. The best rejoinders came from groups of respondents. The first, Weston Sprott (recent Shop Talk guest), Alex Laing, Joy Payton-Stevens, and Titus Underwood. It does a superb job at poking holes in the idea that auditions, and …

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When It Comes To Diversity, Are We Just Churning Butter With A Toothpick?

I keep meaning to find time to write something on the topic of diversity and representation in response to an article on that subject by Anthony Tommasini in the 7/16/2020 edition of the New York Times. In a nutshell, Tommasini attempts to support the conclusion that diversity on-stage can be improved if orchestras abandon screened auditions. It fails to stick a landing thanks in large part because screened auditions don’t have …

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NEC Alumni Pressure School’s Leadership To Improve Diversity

More than 350 New England Conservatory (NEC) alumni have signed a letter addressed to the school’s president, Andrea Kalyn calling out the university for failing to acknowledge what they define as its role in “reproducing the social conditions it claims to abhor.” It is time for the Conservatory’s leadership to be courageous in addressing its history and sustained role in promoting the purported supremacy of Eurocentric musical traditions. This history has …

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Institute For Composer Diversity Begins Rolling Out 2019-2020 Season Report

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The Institute For Composer Diversity (ICD), which evolved from the Women Composers Database project, released their initial 2019-2020 season report. The report tracks the overall number and percentage of masterworks series works from women composers and composers of color. The online report provides concise datasets that illustrate each orchestra’s percentage and number of works in total season along with their League of American Orchestras group number. Since we’re neck-deep in 2019-2020 …

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Meaningful Diversity Is Closer Than We Think

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While I am all kinds of happy to see service organizations and foundations allocate increased resources to addressing meaning change on issues related to diversity, it still feels a bit like trying to catch up by going slower. All the planned efforts are excellent; providing mentoring, audition prep, financial support, and highlighting minority musicians to potential employers are necessary programs. At the same time, there are options capable of catapulting the …

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