Classical 91.5

Thousands of U.S. Choral Conductors Sign A "Black Voices Matter Pledge"

Jul 17, 2020

Credit Alexander Lloyd Blake

American conductor Alexander Lloyd Blake has launched an effort to encourage musicians to sign a pledge of anti-racisim in choral practice.

Blake is the Founding Artistic Director of Tonality, Director of Classical Choirs at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and Principal Associate Conductor at the National Children's Chorus.  He also offers consulting work for organizations wanting to increase equity and diversity in the arts.

"People should sign the pledge because they are in agreement that these conversations and the way in which we have allowed classical music to run as a whole, have not worked for most people," Blake said in a recent interview.  "They have kept people out of our art form. They have reflected the most dangerous and poisonous ways in which we view non-white members of society. They have gone against ideals we have preached about when we talk about choral music."

The pledge was launched on Juneteenth, and as of July 16th, more than 6,000 U.S. conductors had signed on.

Blake's advice to choral conductors?  "Signing this pledge will send a strong message to the artistic director or board that you are going to personally do the work to make an equitable situation and because those people that typically haven't been seen actually matter to you."

Read the Black Voices Matter Pledge here.