Symphonies Are Not Normal
Please click here for an article by Ian David Moss “On the Cultural Specificity of Symphony Orchestras”. Over the past year, I have been talking with Ian and he has been talking back about the way European descended arts organizations are named and not named in conversations about racism in the arts, how they are normalized at the penalty of the rest of us, how they imagine themselves and are imagined by funders and researchers as “mainstream” rather than “a stream” and the way that frame facilitates the higher level of resources they absorb from the arts funding ecosystem, particularly so for the organizations who’s work is to support the Western Canon, the so-called SOBs (Symphony, Opera and Ballet). Ian and I talk and of course we don’t always agree or express ourselves in the same ways. I am thinking of alternate sub-titles here and wondering about “what are the ways western canon preserving arts organizations led by European descended people can help undo systemic European supremacy.” But I did not write this article and this was a lot of work, so I don’t get that right.
Encouraged to see a colleague and valued work partner using their national platform to challenge the norms of who gets raced and who doesn’t. I also want to note Ian did not just start doing this. We know Western Canon preserving orgs, are culturally specific, and African descended people in the world I know have been talking about this for a long time. Deconstructing that narrative of normalness is one of the pieces of deconstructing European descended supremacy writ large. (Continue to hate that a blog talking about art is so ugly. Patience please)