The Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts stands firmly with the black community against the racism, hate, and violence demonstrated by the murders of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury, and countless others.
In light of these atrocities, we have looked deeply within ourselves and recognize that we can do more as an organization to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement and our black colleagues, and to ensure more space for the representation of black culture in our programs. Our hope is to create an environment in which everyone feels welcome and can see themselves reflected in our performers as well as the music itself. As representatives of arts and culture in our society, it is our duty to ensure the presence of all perspectives. We can do more.
Both the Festival and the Center were founded on the philosophy that music itself has the power to enlighten, heal, and connect cultures and communities in profound ways. We strive for Excellence and Access. And while we have achieved these standards in many ways by presenting high-quality performances and eliminating financial and physical barriers to our programs, we can do more to utilize our capacity as an organization to address what we recognize as systemic racism that exists in our industry.
Actions speak louder than words. Not only do we acknowledge that we can do more, we will do more to combat systemic racism and work to create true equity and inclusion. This will be a process that takes the form of an ongoing conversation and evolution of our organizational behaviors to better serve everyone in our community.
We are accountable to you, our community, and will continue to share our actions with you by updating this post.
On #BlackOutTuesday, a day recognized as a pause by some in the music industry, we dedicated the day to conversations around equity and inclusion. As a result of these and ongoing conversations, we are committing to the following actions:
- Honor and call attention to the #BlackLivesMatter movement by commissioning a black composer for a work to premiere with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, scheduled for summer 2021.
- Deepen our connection with our Festival Fellows, selected in partnership with the Sphinx Organization, by listening and creating a platform through which they and other musicians of color may share their direct experiences with our audience and students. Specifically, we are developing a series of videos featuring 2020 Festival Fellows, the Ivalas Quartet.
- Create diversity on our board of directors.
- Diversify Center for Musical Arts faculty to include more people of color.
- Hire more composers and musicians of color to perform in and with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra.
- Create a larger pool of arts administrators in our field who are black and from other underrepresented groups with a new internship program to be launched in 2021.
- Highlight the diversity of musical, cultural offerings at the Center for Musical Arts, including our partnership with Kutandara Center, our Outreach Program to Title I schools, Invisible Audience virtual concerts, lessons on non-western instruments and other special programs.