The question of who is and isn’t appearing regularly on concert platforms is highly topical both in the UK and USA. Following the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations there have been a number of articles and panel discussions in the classical music sector about diversity, and of course these mainly focus on the diversity strand of ethnicity and the under-representation of musicians from black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds. But Art Council England, who fund many of our orchestras and opera companies, report on the full range of diversity strands, and it is worth underlining that “diversity” is not short-hand for “race equality”. Rather it is a term that has arisen from the Equality Act 2010 to encapsulate the nine protected characteristics which it sets out. However, the resources below are mainly, but not exclusive, about diversity and race in classical music, and more specifically how these intersect with black experiences.    

Arguably ACE sets the agenda for the performing arts in the UK, but their remit is only for England. ACE wants “the diversity of audiences, leaders, producers and creators of arts and culture to reflect the diversity of contemporary England”. Their reports help to give context to discussions about who’s represented and who’s not. However, these reports are only as good as they data provided to them by arts organisations, and as is evident, there are a lot of gaps in the picture…

Link to data reports on diversity
Link to Creative Case for Diversity

Orchestras Live is charity with the belief “that orchestras are for everyone and that live orchestral music has the power to inspire people for a lifetime.” Sounds familiar! Read more about them on their website. This discussion is from 16 July 2020 and on the panel are Oliver Vibrans (composer and musical director) Kerry Watson (Luton Music Service) and Rob Adediran (London Music Masters).

Link to discussion

Music Matters (13 July 2020): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kv61
Kate Molleson hosts an online panel discussion on issues relating to race and equality within the classical music industry.

Read the Ivors’ summary of the session here.

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) rebranded to The Ivors Academy in 2019, and they are the UK’s “independent professional association for music creators”. The ABO is the Association of British Orchestras and they represent the majority of the UK’s orchestras. The ABO holds an annual conference, usually hosted by one of its member orchestras, part of which are industry-led discussions on current topics and challenges for the sectors.  

Link to Spotify Collaborative Playlist started by Craig: here

A resource of information on classical music from Africa and the African Diaspora.

Link: https://www.musicbyblackcomposers.org

A developing academic research project/blog by Thai-born US cellist and educator Jon Silpayamanant. He is deeply interested in investigating the “paternalistic colonialism found in diversity initiatives of Classical Music Organizations”. 

Link: https://silpayamanant.wordpress.com

A US website for music educators, including information and resources to help teachers “develop critical practices through research, training and discourse to build a more equitable future.”

Link: https://decolonizingthemusicroom.com

Solver Linett are a US “social research firm for the cultural sector” who do a lot of work researching audiences. 

Link: https://sloverlinett.com


Hosting Street Orchestra Live 

For socially-focused organisations and charities Street Orchestra Live can visit you for a nominal contribution to our running costs as part of a subsidised tour. Unfortunately we only tour for a very limited number of days per year, and we can’t make any promises in advance of tour funding being confirmed. But if your organisation works in education, health, criminal justice or with marginalised groups of adults or young people, then we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line and we’ll hold you in mind for the future. 

Please email: info@streetorchestra.co.uk

If we are able to visit your community group or organisation, we don’t require anything other than a suitable place to play and an audience. Click below for our most recent info sheet for hosts and venues.