If we’re going to reform classical music and make it a relevant force in American society, voices like Rebecca’s need to be listened to. Corrupt systems don’t like being called out, and their participants who are of a reasonable age do themselves and their art a disservice by not examining the context of their successes. Young white men, you have had a leg up to your achievements, and your resulting dominance in classical music as participants and more importantly, as leaders, has played a role in its decline as a cultural force. The energy generated by diverse viewpoints is going elsewhere, to classical music’s detriment. Also slipping away is the public funding, donations, and ticket revenue from those who wish to invest in the world that Rebecca Lawrence already lives in.
Someone commented, “don’t blame us, blame the organizations,” and it’s true, arts leaders of my generation have failed you. We’ve relied on the old money to fund our organizations and encouraged our own version of white supremacy by looking to a Europe that does not even exist anymore for our cultural capital. We resisted change and we’re resisting it still to hang on to the power and financial stability we have mustered.
But by participating in the “organizations” today you are responsible for it’s future tomorrow. And as young, intelligent people, you will want the viewpoint this post brings you as you make the best decisions for our art, which will be in your hands soon enough. You have been trained by my generation to think you have earned all your success. Now use your white male privilege to ensure the voices that will energize our music are being heard and included, before they go somewhere else.
Early Music Seattle
(daughter plays the bass)