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.

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Funding Partners

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

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Fostering collaboration toward racial and gender equity.

With over thirty US orchestras signed up to one of the program’s eight consortia, Amplifying Voices facilitates co-commissions and sharing of existing repertoire by BIPOC 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.

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

Support from the Sorel Organization has contributed to two new consortia led by Dallas Symphony and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) which will each commission a woman of color. Support from Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation will also contribute to two additional new consortia, to be determined, each commissioning an emerging woman composer. ASCAP and Wise Music Trust 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 composers, and enabling audiences around the country to discover the most exciting music of our time.

Why This Initiative is Needed

Only 1.8% of music programmed by US orchestras was by women in 2017 (NPR).

2% Music by women

More recently it was reported that only 16% of music programed by orchestras was by a living composer.

16% Orchestral music by living composers

Only 6% of this music was by BIPOC composers (Composer Diversity Institute).

6% BIPOC composers

Amplifying Voices Consortium

A Cuban woman posing wearing an indigo, silk top

Tania León

Arkansas Symphony

A BIPOC man sitting outside

Tyshawn Sorey

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

A man posing with hands folded in a black shirt

Brian Raphael Nabors

Berkeley Symphony

Jessie Montgomery

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

A Latinx man waving from the orchestra stage

Juan Pablo Contreras

Las Vegas Philharmonic

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

Shelley Washington

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

A BIPOC woman posing with a flute

Valerie Coleman

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Nina Shekhar

YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)

Vijay Iyer Portrait Photo: Barbara Rigon

Vijay Iyer

Oregon Symphony

Partner Orchestras

  • “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 
  • “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, and Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

ASCAP logo

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