The OSM musicians and staff are deeply affected by the events of the past weeks. The death of George Floyd and so many others highlights, in the USA as well as in Canada and around the world, ongoing and systemic discrimination against black people and People of Colour. We feel called to publicly state our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and with people around the world fighting for racial justice. In our Canadian context, this includes ongoing Indigenous movements of reconciliation.
As members of a symphony orchestra, we can become agents of change, both locally and in the larger artistic milieu.
We recognize that orchestras must create space for diverse voices, as much within the ranks of musicians and guest artists as in our public, our administration and leadership.
We have a lot to learn; a lot to do. Despite many positive initiatives in recent years, we acknowledge that we are engaged in a process that calls for additional immediate and long-term actions. The OSM has a standing committee that reports on diversity within the organization at all levels. In the last year its activities intensified to include an organization-wide Diversity-Equity-Inclusion-Accessibility audit, to make recommendations and implement an action plan. This current cultural moment is our reminder to continually strive for equity in our field and expect more from ourselves.
– We commit to intensify our efforts to ensure representation of a broad diversity of musicians and composers in our programming, including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour – this in addition to our continued effort to increase representation of women on the podium – an important challenge in our industry – and in our leadership.
– We commit to promote a cultural offering that is inclusive and welcoming to all the diverse communities of Montreal through listening and collaborating with community-based groups and consultants.
– We commit to using education as a tool for social inclusion and to increase the diversity of our future audiences.
– We commit to engage with partner organisations who work to increase access for all young professional musicians, regardless of their background, to orchestral auditions.
This statement is the result of collective discussions between musicians, administration and leadership at the OSM. It is our response to events that we cannot ignore. We acknowledge and join the chorus of voices declaring that words are not enough, and actions must follow. We offer this as our commitment to take those next steps together, as music has the power to unite people across culture and race.