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New Research on Orchestra Fellowships Seeks Former Fellows

1 Polyphonic Administrator

Orchestras around the nation have responded in a variety of ways to the challenges of becoming more diverse and accessible institutions. Some have developed fellowship programs designed to support African American and Latino musicians moving from their formal music education into the ranks of professional players.

The League of American Orchestras, which has a long history of researching and understanding the dynamics of race in symphonic music, is now turning its attention to fellowships. It has commissioned Chicago-based reMaking Culture to conduct a study examining the impact of these programs on musicians and orchestras; factors influencing their effectiveness; and assumptions behind their delivery and design.Team members Monica Hairston O’Connell, Slover Linett Audience Strategies, and lead researcher Nick Rabkin bring decades of experience to the work and are committed to producing a study that reflects the experiences of the musicians at the center of the programs as well as the dynamics of the programs and their sponsors.

The research team seeks contact information and leads for any African American and Latina/o musicians who have been fellows or applied for a fellowship in any U.S.-based orchestral fellowship program. The confidential information we gather from these contacts and those provided from the orchestras will be key to a quality study. Please send an email to remakingculture@gmail.com if you have participated in an orchestra fellowship program in any way, whether or not you remain in the field. Thank you!

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  1. Comment by Ross Monroe Winter
    February 19, 2019 at 1:23 AM

    This is a wonderful topic and I’m glad it is being published. I hope Polyphonic.org will also include chamber music organizations. The Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Academy has offered (and offered full-tuition+room/board) scholarships for under-represented string students every year. Our matriculated students have come from every region and socio-economic group. Past minority Wintergreen students have gone on to major careers. Orchestral programs are not the only promoters of under-represented students! We will continue to support African American and Hispanic talented students who need our help!