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Goodbye Tokenism, Charlotte Symphony Is Embracing True Diversity – NOW

Oct 20, 2023

Perry Tannenbaum, CVNC -- 

Face it: in the wake of #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and COVID-19, we've entered a complex cultural transition. The Charlotte Symphony, never the most daring nor the most timid of orchestras in their programming, serves as a useful barometer. Their current program, with works by Emilie Mayer and William Grant Still, is even more impressively diverse -- judging strictly by the playing times of these pieces -- than their season opener, spotlighting the music of Valerie Coleman and The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto by two modern Chinese composers, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao. But in 2023, these are not yet household names, or even widely known among CSO subscribers. Accordingly, the season opening concert was titled "Beethoven's Eroica Symphony No. 3" and the current offering is billed as "Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2," pragmatically restoring balance and marketability. We haven't reached the Promised Land in claiming our full musical heritage, but we're definitely beginning to cross the Jordan.

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