Amplifying Voices fosters collaboration and collective action between US orchestras and composers toward racial and gender equity in classical music.
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
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
New York Philharmonic & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Las Vegas Philharmonic
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
More To Be Announced Soon
Why This Initiative is Needed
Deceased white males comprised over two thirds of the works programmed in the 2021-22 season (Composer Diversity Institute, 2022)
Only 21.8% of music programed by orchestras was by a living composer (Composer Diversity Institute, 2022)
Only 22.5% of programmed works are by women composers and composers of color (Composer Diversity Institute, 2022)
“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.”
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
News and Resources
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.