A statement from LCO

Tuesday 9 June 2020
Posted by: Hugh

This is an apology for our inaction in resolving the systemic racism and lack of representation of BAME people in classical music. We are also laying out a set of steps we are undertaking to radically reform our organisation in the light of this. Classical music fundamentally lacks diversity across all parts of its organisations. This is not a new problem, nor one that has lacked discussion, but it remains fundamentally unresolved. That includes in our organisation, London Contemporary Orchestra.

Recent events and the discussion around them have educated us to understand that this failure is a clear manifestation of systemic, institutional racism. We, along with most other ensembles, have been happy to rely on the lack of non-white players coming from the music colleges as an excuse for inaction. We now understand that this is wrong and cannot be allowed to continue. We want to express our sincere and unequivocal apology for our role in perpetuating such, and to lay out the beginnings of a set of actions we are undertaking to address it.

We understand that there are multiple areas that affect the current lack of diversity, hence its systemic nature. Those that we have currently identified are: our own organisational make-up, the collaborators we work with and the nurturing of new talent.

As a first step, and in order to show our total commitment to reform, we are making a concrete pledge that by June 2021 our employees, Directors and Trustees share the same diversity as London (50% non-white).

The fundamental issue of our player pool remains. Instigated by our players, we began a process in Jan 2020 to address this. Our objective is to achieve the same level of representation. We hope to be able to put a timeline on when we can deliver this at the end of the consultation period mentioned above.

In addition, over the next month, we will engage in a set of “town hall” consultations with our BAME players, our broader player pool, our collaborators and our audience/ community to learn their thoughts about our industry and how they would propose that these issues are resolved. This will take place over the next month on a set of Zoom calls and each of these will be announced on our social media channels at least a week in advance to provide proper notice.

Following this period we will publish a timeline with the exact steps that we plan to take and the exact period over which they will be enacted. We will attach a proper budget and staffing to these actions to ensure that those involved are properly compensated and that these actions succeed in a sustainable way.

We want to take the most open approach possible to addressing these issues. If you have any thoughts then please contact us either by DM on social media or direct by email: [email protected] We are listening and we appreciate the patience of the BAME community while we take steps to resolve these problems.

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