Two Pioneering Diversity Studies from the League

As orchestras across the U.S. demonstrate a new will and energy to ensure that the field is inclusive and representative of the communities they serve, the League of American Orchestras is pleased to share the following pioneering diversity studies.

Both reports offer insights based on rigorous data and careful methodologies. Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity in the Orchestra Field uses longitudinal data – going back nearly 40 years in some cases – to identify trends and to ultimately establish a baseline of where we stand today. Forty Years of Fellowships also looks back – examining the efficacy of one of the field’s most common strategies for addressing the homogeneity of the musicians who play on stage – while looking forward: Forty Years of Fellowships contains a number of recommendations that could be used to strengthen not only fellowship programs but diversity efforts of all kinds.

These reports build on the League’s ongoing commitment to provide leadership and resources in support of orchestras’ efforts to better reflect the communities they serve. The League is excited to continue, though all our channels – e.g., our magazine storiesour Diversity and Inclusion Resource Centermajor convenings, and partnerships – to serve as a catalyst for change.

Looking back to the League’s previous involvement in equity, diversity, and inclusion work, Americanizing the American Orchestra (PDF), a report published in 1993, serves as an initiative for change that challenges the orchestra field to take a collective look beyond the financial condition, to affirm the music and its history of accomplishment, and to build on this history and the orchestral art form to secure the future.

These studies were made possible by a generous support of the Mellon Foundation. Additional support was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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