June 2020

It is moments like these that compel us to consider all of the ways we are using our public media platform to serve our diverse communities, and to be clear about All Classical Portland’s values: to listen deeply and amplify all voices; to embrace equity; to build trust, and to be accountable in our mission to provide access to the arts for all.

In a pre-pandemic world, May 23rd would have been the day All Classical Portland broadcast the world premiere of Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem live from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. This groundbreaking work, which was commissioned by Resonance Ensemble and to be co-presented with the Oregon Symphony, memorializes the Black lives lost to racial violence—from the founding of our country, to Eric Garner’s death in 2014.

This is not political. This is human. All Classical Portland condemns racism in all forms and across all sectors of society. We believe that Black Lives Matter.

The artist Nadia Fawad once said, “Art reflects the innermost realities of humanity.” Through the music played on All Classical Portland, we put forth an opportunity to understand the truths of our shared humanity. In addition to beauty and comfort, the music we share provides a powerful vehicle for reflection, grieving, and growth.

The classical music industry has historically marginalized the voices of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color. We are committed to changing the narrative of our industry.

While public declarations are important and meaningful, we believe in doing the work. Lasting change requires action and commitment.

We have a responsibility to continue to expand access and share diverse perspectives, ensuring that the voices of those historically underrepresented and those often excluded today have a place at the microphone, in the office, at the Board table, on the stage, and in the concert hall.

Here are some of the actions we have taken and are taking to drive change:

Amplify Black artists, issues, and voices through programs like Where We LiveThe State of the Arts, and Thursdays @ Three, as well as the Artists in Residence program. In addition to programming and initiatives that amplifies Black voices in particular, All Classical Portland is also committed to expanding opportunity, access, and visibility to the broader Indigenous communities and to People of Color.

Address the industry-wide shortage of broadcast-quality recordings of works by underrepresented composers. Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, we will partner to produce high-quality studio recordings ourselves through All Classical Portland’s Recording Inclusivity Project. In the meantime, All Classical Portland has a dedicated team of music researchers working to unearth lesser-known pieces and recordings of works  by composers of color, creating a resource list that can be shared with other stations.

Expand youth access to music and mentorship. In 2017, we launched our JOY! Program (Joyous Outreach to Youth/You) dedicated to equity and inclusivity. The four pillars of the program include (1) Youth Roving Reporters, an arts journalism mentorship program for high-school students; (2) Where We Live, a radio segment dedicated to the intersection of art and social issues; (3) an Artists in Residence Program; and (4) ICAN (the International Children’s Arts Network), launched in April 2019. ICAN is a station for children designed to expand cross-cultural awareness and to promote empathy and emotional literacy. In its first year, ICAN shared content in more than 10 languages and recognized 15 cultural holidays.

We recognize that much more needs to be done. We will continue to increase opportunities for equity and advancement, internally and externally, and to be inclusive of different voices and perspectives. Action also requires partnership and collaboration and we hope you will join us on the long road ahead.

I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.

In solidarity,
Suzanne Nance
President & CEO
All Classical Portland

Photo: Suzanne Nance

Suzanne Nance

President & CEO

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