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Mellon Foundation Grant To Bring Diversity To Orchestras
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New grant offers step up for minorities in orchestras

Janelle Gelfand, 12:03 p.m. EDT July 17, 2015

At concerts by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, audience members see just a handful of African-American and Latino musicians playing in the orchestra. In New York last year, the sensational clarinetist Anthony McGill – whose first orchestra post was in Cincinnati – became the first African-American principal player to be appointed in the New York Philharmonic’s 173-year history.

For decades, orchestras and conservatories of music across the country have struggled to recruit ethnic minorities to their ranks.

Now, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant to the Cincinnati Symphony and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music to help address that problem. A new initiative will establish a groundbreaking fellowship program aimed at providing opportunities for under-served musicians at the graduate level. The intent is to help prepare them for the exceedingly competitive world of professional orchestras.

The pilot program will start in the fall of 2016. It is the first program of its kind and could become a model for classical music organizations around the country.


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