Michael Drapkin: Combatting Systemic Racism in the Symphony Orchestra Using the Brooklyn Model

The Black Lives Matter movement had spotlighted the lack of diversity in professional symphony orchestras where only 1.8% of the musicians are Black. Additionally, the New York Times noted that a lot of classical music is not relevant to Black audiences because historically orchestras were staffed by almost only white men and the repertoire also reflects that. To address these issues, the Texas Chamber Symphony looks for ways to integrate the orchestra with the community and adopt the Brooklyn Model, a music model developed by the Brooklyn orchestra. To continue their efforts, the Texas Chamber Symphony staged a concert and appointed a local popular music in-state artist and included selections from living black and/or woman composers. This concert is the first step in lowering some of the barriers and creates connections between symphony orchestras and their communities to try to attract a more diverse audience.