Like so many in our nation, the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra has come to an increased awareness of the devastating toll racism takes on both individuals and society at large. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Manuel Ellis, John T. Williams, and too many others reminds us that racism in this country is literally deadly. It is time for us to take new, more effective steps to address violence, victimization, and injustice.
So we say out loud and with all our strength: BLACK LIVES MATTER. We are committed to continuing the critical work of eliminating the effects of racism as experienced by peoples of color within our community. We stand with everyone working to fight for racial justice for all people in our nation.
We vow to do our part to repair the damage done by institutional racism and discrimination toward people of color and all marginalized communities in the realm of classical music. We will joyfully explore voices that have been suppressed by bias. You will see this in our upcoming season and future seasons: moving and powerful works by women, people of color, and others who have been unjustly ignored and silenced within classical music. We also vow to improve inclusivity within our orchestra, our leadership, and our audiences.
We invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and change as we work together to achieve a more just community and society.
The Philharmonic's gala 75th season opener will present music spanning from the 18th century to a fanfare especially written for the occasion by acclaimed composer Gina Gillie. The concert will include (appropriately enough) Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 75, and conclude with three works by Aaron Copland which were all composed at the same time the Philharmonic came into being (the early 1940s); renowned actor Tom Skerritt will be the featured narrator in Copland's Lincoln Portrait. The program will also spotlight the artistry of saxophone virtuoso Erik Steighner, in a rare performance of Fernande Decruck's haunting and atmospheric Sonata for Saxophone and Orchestra.