African American Representation in Classical Music

garyclarkjr.com

Jonathan Deas, also known as "Deas on Keys," has recently been on "Saturday Night Live," "Howard Stern" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" performing with Gary Clark Jr. to promote his new album, This Land. He’s receiving national notoriety now, but it wasn’t too long ago he was a student at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

Musician Henri Muhammad has been teaching young African-Americans how to play strings and piano for nearly 20 years in the city of Buffalo. The Muhammad School of Music’s continuing mission to provide inner-city youth with an instrumental education has led to generations of Buffalo-bred professionals in various vocations.

Pintrest

Kenmore East High School Band Director Phil Aguglia is a product of the Buffalo Public Schools system. He spoke with WBFO's Nick Lippa about why it’s important to invest in urban education, but isn’t sure if it will lead to more minority musicians in larger orchestras.

BPO

African-Americans currently make up less than two percent of larger orchestra members in the United States. That lack of representation is a struggle for many groups, including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Buffalo State

Orchestras around the country, including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, have little to no African-American representation, especially for instrumentalists.