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Orchestra Considers Ways to Increase Audience and Diversity and Improve Culture

The panel on stage at Baldwin Wallace University.
Mark Arehart
The panel on stage at Baldwin Wallace University.

The Cleveland Orchestra and Baldwin Wallace University officially launched a joint residency program at the college’s annual Arts Innovation Summit. A panel of experts discussed challenges facing orchestras across the country.

The panel of musicians and arts administrators focused mainly on how to engage with new audiences and the lack of diversity in orchestras. Fewer than two percent of musicians in American Orchestras are African American. Just over two percent are Latin American and around 9 percent are Asian American. 

A subject that did not come up during the discussion was sexual harassment. But when asked, League of American Orchestras president Jesse Rosen said, "At all the meetings that we convene, this is what everyone’s working on. At the most recent meeting we had attorneys, HR professionals all working with orchestra staff, providing guidance. And they’re all doing it in their own home orchestras. Doing the hard work of making sure they have practices and policies that make sure they have the right kind of culture."

In July, Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil was suspended over sexual harassment allegations.

Last month, trombonist Massimo La Rosa was suspended "as part of an ongoing independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct," according to a statement from the orchestra.  

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.