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Using Classical Music to Support Black Lives Matter

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Jul 11, 2016

In December 2014, as protesters gathered across the country to demand justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Eun Lee, organizer of The Dream Unfinished project, was wondering how classical music could play a role.

Speaking to the New York Times, Lee said “It just hit me…that, as much as we were seeing a response from rap musicians and folk musicians and now more and more pop musicians, there was no such response from the classical music community.”

In response, Lee organized a project that would use classical music to speak to institutional violence. Partnering with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Justice League NYC, the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, and an orchestra of performers that donated rehearsal time, Lee produced “The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights” in Lower Manhattan, July 17, 2015.

Lee is continuing The Dream Unfinished project this year with “Sing Her Name,” a choral concert that will pay tribute to black women impacted by racial injustice. She notes that it’s not unsurprising that more classical music institutions are not joining this conversation. “The leadership and the personnel rosters of a lot of these major orchestras and institutions are so white. I think some of it is also just their own personal discomfort,” Ms. Lee said. “There’s a fear of having something to lose, alienating donors or sponsors who are a little more conservative.”

Read the full NY Times story here.

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