Cincinnati Symphony, CCM lead diversity push among American orchestras

According to the League of American Orchestras, about 4 percent of classical orchestra musicians are African American or Latino. To promote a more diverse and inclusive environment, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) have teamed up to provide a unique opportunity for mentorship and applied learning among students.
Thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, five string players are now CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows.
The program is the first of its kind and aims to change the face of America’s orchestras, kicking off in August at the start of the 2016-17 school year. Five new Fellows will be welcomed in 2017-18, as the program is slated to run for two years.
“Our Fellows hail from New York, Georgia, Kentucky, Costa Rica and Hong Kong and represent the future of American orchestras,” CCM Dean Peter Landgren says. “Working in close collaboration with our partners at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, we will prepare these Fellows for long and fruitful artistic careers while challenging the status quo of our industry.”

In addition to financial support via scholarships, stipends and award money, students will also receive compensation to practice and perform with the CSO.

For Emilio Carlo, one of the five students selected as an incoming Fellow, the opportunity is particularly special.

“Being raised in the Bronx, I would’ve never thought my future would involve classical music,” Carlo says. “When I attend orchestra concerts, there aren’t many musicians of color seen on stage. In fact, it’s always an ‘aha’ moment when I see a Latino or African American musician playing in a symphony.”

Do Good: 

• Learn more about the Multicultural Awareness Council and how you can promote diversity and inclusiveness within the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 

• Connect with CSO on Facebook

• Check out a list of upcoming events at CCM.

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
Signup for Email Alerts