Wednesday, July 26, 2017

John Malveaux: Diversity and Inclusion: NATIONAL TAKE A STAND FESTIVAL at Disney Concert Hall featuring the NATIONAL TAKE A STAND FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA

Marcus Gee

Thomas Wilkins & Gustavo Dudamel

John Malveaux of 

Based on a past League of American Orchestras survey, nearly 90% of orchestra players are White, 3% percent are African-American or Latino, and most of the remaining 7% are Asian. On July 22, 2017, I attended the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association closing event of the NATIONAL TAKE A STAND FESTIVAL at Disney Concert featuring the NATIONAL TAKE A STAND FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA.
The concert and El Sistema concept represent the most powerful vehicle for diversity and inclusion in American Orchestras that I have ever witnessed to date.. Please see NATIONAL TAKE A STAND FESTIVAL
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra principal Conductor Thomas Wilkins opened the concert with Coleridge-Taylor “Danse Negre”, Berlioz “Hungarian March from the Damnation of Faust” and Elgar “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations. LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel closed with Tchaikovsky “Slavonic March”, and Bernstein “Mambo”, from West Side Story. I sat next to a gentleman who is producing a documentary about Maestro Dudamel. Before the concert, I asked if he knew anything about the composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He quickly said NO. I shared two brief comments and hoped he would read the paragraph in the program about the Afro-European composer.
In 2013, i missed the screening of a Samuel Coleridge-Taylor documentary followed by a discussion with the producer Charlie Kaufman. However, I was successful in contacting Mr. Kaufman and he agreed to meet with me on his way to the airport.  Mr. Kaufman had invested all his assets in the documentary without a distribution deal. He graciously shared a copy of the documentary with me. Please see one of several trailers to his documentary SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR and His Music in America, 1900-1912 on Youtube. I selected the following trailer because the first person speaking is Francis Walker, sister of the Pulitzer Prize composer George Walker The entire documentary is also on Youtube.
As the high school musicians between the ages of 12-18 walked on staged, I starting counting the number of African Americans players. I was momentarily distracted and they were coming so frequently, I lost count and could not recover to get an accurate count. Sitting in the front row, I gave close attention to the skillful techniques and confidence by the principal cellist Marcus Gee. See pic 1 Marcus Gee.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s first date with his future wife Coretta was a concert of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. After witnessing their lives and the NATIONAL TAKE A STAND ORCHESTRA, I know for sure YES WE CAN. see pic 2 Maestros Wilkins and Dudamel

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