In light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism in America, Ninth Planet has been reflecting upon our role in society as an ensemble and service organization. In surveying our programming at Ninth Planet and our predecessor organizations (Composers, Inc. and Wild Rumpus) we found that of the 200 pieces performed over the course of nearly 10 years’ worth of repertoire and commissions, not one piece was written by a Black composer. This was a sobering realization. The demographics of performed pieces match closely to the lack of diversity in our organization’s personnel as well. We have been part of the problem that pervades the rest of the classical music world, and we are determined to change.
As we move toward our next season and our first full season since Ninth Planet’s conception last year, we have committed ourselves to programming, commissioning, and networking with a cohort of artists whose diversity reflects that of our greater community– and to extending this effort to broadening our audience. Being a new organization, we are uniquely positioned to make these important changes swiftly and permanently. We are actively working with our Artistic Committee to develop plans to diversify our programming and show our community not just through our words but through our actions that Black artists not only matter, but that their past and future contributions to the music and the extended arts are valued, necessary, and important. We are committed to using our platform to amplify and celebrate these contributions.
All lives cannot matter until Black lives matter.