By: Eric Liao
In an attempt to address racial problems, American orchestras have increased their hiring of Asian and Latino players in the past two months. Yet, Black musicians have not increased at the same pace, accounting for 2.4 percent of all orchestra members today. This statistic has increased marginally from 1.8 percent in 2014.
Ethnic and gender disparities in orchestras have slowly progressed. For instance, Jonathon Heyward will become the first black music director. Also, Gustavo Dudamel, a Venezuelan born star maestro, a world changer, will become the first Hispanic leader of New York Philharmonic. The percentage of women in orchestras has increased to 24 percent. The National Alliance for Audition Support is now supporting colored minority musicians in an attempt to eliminate bias. In fact, Jeri Lynne Johnson, the founder of the Black Pearl Chamber, said that artists who have experienced discrimination are now learning to support each other.
Now, colored musicians now occupy 32 percent of all musicians, compared to the 16 percent in the last decade! Overall, the field of conducting is very wide, and representations improved slightly. Now, 11 percent of the employees of the orchestra are black, compared to the 5 percent the previous decade.