Program

Amplifying Voices

Amplifying Voices fosters collaboration and collective action between US orchestras and composers toward racial and gender equity in classical music.

Programs
Program

Amplifying Voices

Amplifying Voices fosters collaboration and collective action between US orchestras and composers toward racial and gender equity in classical music.

Connect with Us

Funding Partners

Amplifying Voices is powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund, with additional support from ASCAP, the Sorel Organization, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and the Wise Music and The Wise Family Charitable Foundation.

ASCAP logo

Fostering collaboration toward racial and gender equity.

With over forty-five orchestras in the US and beyond to soon be a part of the program’s eleven consortia, Amplifying Voices facilitates co-commissions and sharing of existing repertoire by BIPOC and women composers. This long-term program aims to increase the support and promotion of under-represented composers, create space for their contributions to artistic-planning at major national orchestras, and make major strides toward transforming the classical canon for future generations.

The program was kick-started by The Sphinx Organization through a generous contribution from the Sphinx Venture Fund, and increasing momentum has made possible by new funding from the Sorel Organization, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and industry partners ASCAP and Wise Music, which demonstrates recognition amongst orchestras that new and inclusive approaches to programming are critical for the sector’s future relevance.

Support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation will create two new consortia commissioning Katherine Balch and Clarice Assad. Previous support from the Sorel Organization has contributed to two consortia which are commissioning Jessie Montgomery and Nina Shekhar. ASCAP and Wise Music will support the Amplifying Voices Learning Lab, facilitating conversations with composers, orchestras, and industry guests. Anticipated focal points include best approaches to co-commissioning, centering existent repertoire by BIPOC and women composers, and enabling audiences around the country to discover the most exciting music of our time.

Amplifying Voices Consortium

Clarice Assad

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Katherine Balch

New York Philharmonic & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

A BIPOC woman posing with a flute

Valerie Coleman

The Philadelphia Orchestra

A Latinx man waving from the orchestra stage

Juan Pablo Contreras

Las Vegas Philharmonic

Vijay Iyer Portrait Photo: Barbara Rigon

Vijay Iyer

Oregon Symphony

A Cuban woman posing wearing an indigo, silk top

Tania León

Arkansas Symphony

Jessie Montgomery

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

A man posing with hands folded in a black shirt

Brian Raphael Nabors

Berkeley Symphony

Nina Shekhar

YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)

A BIPOC man sitting outside

Tyshawn Sorey

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

A woman posing with a baritone saxophone in a black-and-white striped shirt, head tilted

Shelley Washington

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Partner Orchestras

Why This Initiative is Needed

It was recently reported that 6.1% of music programmed by US orchestras is by women of color (Composer Diversity Institute)

6% Music by women composers of color

It was reported that only 21.8% of music programed by orchestras was by a living composer (Composer Diversity Institute)

22% Orchestral music by living composers

Only 4.6% of this music was by living women of color (Composer Diversity Institute).

5% Living women composers
  • “It was an enormous thrill to hear about the chance to participate in New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices program. Already it has incubated new works by some of my favorite composers today. This project frees me to write the music of my dreams with the assurance that it will be in the caring and passionate hands of a consortia of orchestras committed to sharing historically marginalized music with audiences at the highest level of artistry.”

    Katherine Balch, Composer
  • “It has always been a goal of mine to champion composers that look like me, that speak to the range of today’s experiences, and that can offer diverse perspectives for our audiences… They can bring unique color and life to the ever-growing musical canon.”

    Joseph Young, Music Director, Berkeley Symphony 
  • “I am honored to participate in such an exciting project with these fantastic orchestras that I genuinely admire—each with a unique vision for the future of today's music. I get to write and share the stage with them, so in a way, it is like a dream coming true for me."

    Clarice Assad, Composer
  • “At a time when bold solidarity is needed... Amplifying Voices is an affirmation that Black Lives do indeed matter and should be represented within this sacred field.”

    A BIPOC woman posing with a flute
    Valerie Coleman, Composer, Amplifying Voices
  • “This groundbreaking work will help to lay the foundation for barriers to be broken and [for] the eradication of stigmas that have plagued our field for many years. To be a part of that change is an affirmation of everything I’ve worked for and continue to work for.”

    Brian Raphael Nabors, Composer, Amplifying Voices

Program Media

News and Resources

Funding Partners

Amplifying Voices is powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund, with additional support from ASCAP, the Sorel Organization, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and the Wise Music and The Wise Family Charitable Foundation.

ASCAP logo

Interested in being part of this initiative?

Get Involved