Personal Statement on D.E.I.
I believe that creating equitable learning environments is a practice which is essential to the progress of education and support of students. There has been a strong push in the world of classical music to recognize previously underrepresented and/or ignored composers from history. In terms of orchestral performance and programming, the orchestral canon should be in a constant state of expansion and re-examination. As we came out of the pandemic, it has be difficult to sustain the intentional efforts needed to continue expanding the canon. We must continue to work tirelessly, and I see it as my responsibility as a programmer to continue finding the proper “re-balance” in orchestral programs. This goal can be pursued by bringing to attention those works which have been ignored and by bringing them to the same playing field as the recognized classics.
Repertoire decisions can only go so far in creating inclusive environments, and deliberately establishing proper and long-term habits of supporting a diversity of artists is an important way of pursuing an equitable future. To actively support and encourage increased diversity, audience members, patrons, and students must be able to see the inclusion of the diversity which is typically already present in a community. This means actively engaging guest artists and soloists that represent a wide range of the student body, exploring the abundance of diversity already present in the repertoire, commissioning new works representative of a wide range of styles and cultures, and actively facilitating community learning environments. As a white male with a Eurocentric heritage, I recognize that I must be extremely attentive to matters of equity and inclusion—constantly checking my blind spots and facilitating welcoming atmospheres which illuminate and challenge the status quo.
In that spirit, I strive to curate programs which represent a large body of repertoire. I seek to maintain transparency and open dialogue through facilitated group input. It is also important to establish (if not already present) the election of musician/student leadership within the orchestra—one of the responsibilities of these peer elected officers is to take ownership in curating equitable seasons through repertoire selection, community building, and by creatively fostering inclusive concert atmospheres.