Posts Tagged ‘shea scruggs’
by Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer
Defenders of the status quo will tell you two things about African Americans and the American symphony orchestra: The reason there are so few blacks in orchestras is that the talent just isn’t out there, and racism can’t be the issue because auditions are played behind screens.
Several years ago I wrote about the fact that 16 years after announcing a cultural-diversity initiative, the Philadelphia Orchestra still had the same three African American members it hired in the 1970s. The reaction from musicians, rather than introspection, ranged from complacency to defensiveness.
And the excuses they offered didn’t wash, not when you take into account the variety and complexity of the ways in which musicians get into the orchestra. Little has changed in recent decades, making the ensemble as tone-deaf to race as the Vienna Philharmonic is in its historic exclusion of women.
But this month, in a relatively significant development at the Mann Center, the orchestra took a quiet baby step.