The Orchestra Reborn
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Dear Friends,

I hope you're doing well. Enjoying the changing seasons and staying warm with family and friends. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some things that have been on our minds at Phoenix as we approach the first concert of our fourth season.

As musicians, we often ask ourselves what we can do to make the world around us a better place for our audiences. This topic is never far from our minds, but current events have brought it to the forefront in a way that cannot be ignored. At Phoenix we’ve come to believe that the answer to that question lies not only in creating transcendent artistic experiences, but also in exposing our audiences to points of view they may never have found otherwise. This comes from a fundamental belief that diversity of culture, ideas, and sounds not only broadens our view of the world, but is essential to human progress.

Born from this thinking, we're excited to share with you an evolution in Phoenix’s mission: Starting this season you'll notice that our programs include more pieces by women, people of color, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community. I want to make clear that this is not a coincidence, and that it will be a central part of Phoenix’s mission going forward.

Over the course of our first two seasons I’ve been proud of the emphasis Phoenix has put on presenting music by living composers. I am, however, keenly aware that of the 20+ pieces we’ve performed, all except one has been by a white male and none have been by women. This is typical for modern orchestras, but that does not mean it is a standard we should settle for. In one week, at our first concert of the year, we will be presenting two pieces by female composers, one of whom was also a person of color. This is not only a trend we plan on continuing, but a calling we’re making central to our mission as an artistic organization.

It goes without saying that these changes and this passion will not in any way lessen the artistic excellence of the product we put on stage for our audiences. We will not settle for music that is less than amazing, but we will go out of our way to find and promote amazing music from composers that may have had more trouble having their voices heard than others. The inclusion of all people and promotion of equality is, to us, a moral imperative apart from any political belief.

We hope you’ll join us on this journey as we continue to explore new ways to shape the orchestral experience to be social, accessible, and vital to 21st century life and we look forward to meeting you and getting to know you better at our concerts this season!

Thank you,
Matthew Szymanski
Executive Director, Phoenix