diversity in music


“I would like changes to be made in how we train musicians in conservatories and universities. A lot of our thinking, and our perceptions of what’s good music, becomes indoctrinated at that stage. I say this because even though I’m a person of color, I was guilty of not being accepting of new voices and styles outside of Beethoven, Schumann, all the usual music of the past. When we start with preconceived notions, we limit ourselves. People are afraid of being uncomfortable, but with discomfort comes growth. If students learn about composers like William Grant Still or Florence Price — and their approaches to making music — then they will become more versatile. And we will see that change taking place in our programming; schools won’t just be producing conductors who want to do Wagner, Strauss and Mahler. I love these composers. But there are more voices to hear.”