Minority Composer(s) on Every Concert in Every Student Ensemble at University of Tennessee

Minority Composer(s) on Every Concert in Every Student Ensemble at University of Tennessee

June 2, 2020
Petition to
UT Choirs and 7 others
Signatures: 1,629Next Goal: 2,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Will Eakin

“The torch is a symbol of knowledge, enlightenment, truth, and intellectual optimism—the belief that the light of truth and reason overcomes the darkness of ignorance.” 

As aspiring professional musicians of the 21st century, we would like to see all student ensembles, large and chamber, at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville perform works by LGBTQIA+, Women, Black, Asian, Hispanic, and other minority groups in every concert. We feel that it is detrimental to our education if ensembles and professors at UTK do not make it a point to program and educate their students on the musical contributions of minority and underrepresented communities. The inclusion of composers from a wider variety of cultures and ethnicities not only fosters a more inclusive and creative environment, but it also creates more well-rounded musicians and people as a whole. We are demanding change in our society which we feel should also be reflected in the music and performances that we share with the public.

Our fellow music programs, such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale School of Music, University of California-Los Angeles School of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music, have already committed to implementing works by diverse composers into their concert seasons. At UCLA, the music department even has ensembles specifically dedicated to performing music by composers from underrepresented cultures and ethnicities. Using other top tier music institutions as a model can serve our own school of music’s diversity initiatives. The music world is becoming more diverse and accepting, which is why every voice deserves to be represented and heard in the concert hall.

If we do not allow music of minority groups to be heard, we only aid in silencing their voices rather than uplifting them. As musicians and future educators, we are not receiving the quality education we deserve if a large group of voices are left unheard. Additionally, it is important to showcase the works of underrepresented groups year-round because it shows the value of the art and messages that the composers are sharing. To do this for just a month (i.e. Black History Month) shows that our institution will only support minority groups for a temporary period of time. If underrepresented composers ever hope to become a part of the canon, their works need to be shared continuously, rather than be tokenized. Giving minority composers the platform to be heard is vital to the arts and humanities, the future of our generation, and the future of the entire music world. Uplifitng voices that have previously been unheard helps to expose and remove the hidden white supremacist ideals that are fabricated in our musical and everyday society.

Please help us in our quest for change and inclusivity by signing our petition. Attached below is a list of resources and playlists to consider when signing this petition.

Josie Campbell - B.M. in Cello Performance ‘21 (Orchestra and Chamber)

Will T. Eakin - B.M. in Music Composition '21 (Orchestra and New Music)

Rylee Worstell - B.M. in Vocal Performance ‘21 (Choirs and Opera)


Torchbearer Statement: https://www.utk.edu/volunteer_stories/torchbearer

Orchestra Season Analysis: https://www.composerdiversity.com/orchestra-seasons?fbclid=IwAR09bGE5QZ_dzHmL14Fvbghe9zIEsW1sHfq8G1B9cbE4BL7vxzuKRrFB_AM

UCLA Diverse Ensembles: https://schoolofmusic.ucla.edu/ensembles/

Diverse Composers of Wind Band Music: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1i4mcvDo3j6P9MiXKDbgyZ6enIGPcDhY2NTG278ReOaI/edit#gid=0

Music by Black Composers: https://www.musicbyblackcomposers.org/

Female Band Composers: https://www.jodieblackshaw.com/female-band-composers

LGBT Band Composers: https://leehartman.instantencore.com/web/page.aspx?title=LGBTQ+Band+Composers+Project

The Composers Equity Project A Database of ALAANA,* Women, and Gender Non-Conforming Composers: The Composers Equity Project A Database of ALAANA,* Women, and Gender Non-Conforming Composers: https://www.chamber-music.org/pdf/2019-CCP/Composers-Equity-Project.pdf

Programming Resources: https://www.alexshapiro.org/ProgrammingResources.html

ColourFULL Music: https://www.colourfullmusic.com/

DONNE | Women in Music: http://www.drama-musica.com/TheBigList.html


Black Composers Concert (Choir): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji2LomEgYyM&list=PL3GRtOARPs4uH6YMG1ujB4m0CYhPy2dtN

Asian Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nowJpCjIVC4&list=PLyw9iycu--Lt6_rdve4rENVDxTtU0_sFk&index=3

Symphonies by Female Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s4yY_A2A2k&list=PLog6XR-PrEmAO5uDY8St7QVXNso072D-V

Asian Classical Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOecmVS8Bg0&list=PLFk4TdrdF0kA4o8ZzNQomWAYXK01d9sCt

Female Wind Band Composers: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLK9doz7E8MVo3ZSwxv3KOL2p8NA_4Heke

LGBTQIA+ Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c&list=PLmHR5LeN-rruATi5LW_ZC7sjgKDSFuHHw

Black Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUvuXJP_LOg&list=PLFg88LMiMOEudC3u6-GlbAmbJqsKfOXmk

Black Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHfyzhtjphY&list=PL0AC28A6BEA162DF0

Women Choral Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfOzCgOZCrU&list=PLOkXF9F1OOfXdETfcCxx2HmvQex9oV_HF&index=1

Hispanic Composers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEhebTVF_Aw&list=PLpx4ZEyhZxmEdIDfQWd8f9IOcRZptRYio

Mexican Classical Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbu2v8iDW7A&list=PLTe9ff2aKaHpg6XmdIHoGi7DS8mjQFjuG

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Signatures: 1,629Next Goal: 2,500
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Decision Makers

  • UT Choirs
  • UT Bands
  • UT Orchestra
  • UT Chamber Ensembles
  • UT School of Music