When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra hired Marin Alsop as its Music Director in 2005, it made history by becoming the first major American orchestra to engage a woman as its artistic leader.
Women have continued to make progress in major symphonies. But even the most casual and infrequent visitor to the Meyerhoff in Baltimore or the Music Center at Strathmore will notice that while there are a lot of women playing in the BSO, there is only one African American member of the orchestra. She is Esther Mellon, and she’s been a gifted member of the BSO ‘cello section since the 1980s.
The BSO is not alone. Orchestras across the country, even in majority African American cities like Baltimore, rarely have more than just a few people of color in their ensembles. Aaron Dworkin is working to change that. Dworkin is the Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. For years, he has been a leader and animating force behind efforts to connect people of color with jobs in the classical music business. He is the founder of the Sphinx Organization in Detroit, which is a national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.
Dworkin is in Baltimore today to give a talk at the Peabody Institute this afternoon at 2:30. That event is free and open to the public. It can also be seen via livestream. Tom welcomed Mr. Dworkin to Studio A just before his event at Peabody.