This Instagram Account Is Exposing Racism in The Classical Music Industry

Music Features Orchestra Is Racist
This Instagram Account Is Exposing Racism in The Classical Music Industry

The classical music industry is steeped in racial inequities. From its foundations and role models—predominately white European men, many of whom were actively racist and xenophobic—to the makeup of modern day orchestras (according to The New York Times, black musicians comprise only 2% of the nation’s orchestras), the world of classical music is long overdue for a systemic reevaluation and restructuring.

Now, inspired by the nationwide protests that have erupted over the past few months against police brutality and systemic racism, one Instagram account is tackling this issue head-on. Orchestra Is Racist, created in early June in the image of the account Opera Is Racist, gathers and posts individuals’ experiences of racial discrimination and prejudice in the classical music industry. Run by a team of Black conservatory-trained and university-educated performing musicians, the page “provides a space for aggrieved musicians of color to share their experiences” and “forces institutions to reconsider how they dealt with/how they didn’t deal with these issues.” Apart from providing a space for musicians of color to share their stories, the account is also dedicated to inspiring tangible follow-up action in specific cases, reaching out to institutions and individuals to ensure that their promises extend beyond words and into action.

The amount of information disclosed in each post depends entirely on the content included by the individual who submitted it: Some posts specifically name individuals and musical organizations, while others contain little to no identifying information at all. Yet, every post, whether a telling story or a call for action, unveils the many ways racism permeates the classical music world.

Check out some of @OrchestraIsRacist’s Instagram posts below.

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