Videos of orchestras with featured people of color
July 10, 2019 5:10 PM   Subscribe

My two year old watches videos each night in the bathtub and he’s on a timpani and piano kick. All of the featured solo artists that pop up for us are white and male - I’d like to create a playlist featuring more diverse orchestra solos or recitals and need your help! Any instrument welcome - we tried oboe tonight.
posted by melodykramer to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Anthony McGill is principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic. He's quite amazing, both musically and personally. Not piano or timpani, but a beautiful sound.
With the Philharmonic playing the Nielsen Concerto.
Copland Concerto

Incidentally, his brother Demarre McGill is the principal flutist with the Seattle Symphony. I am not as familiar with his playing but I understand it is also fantastic.
posted by alhadro at 5:25 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer: Also great clarinetists who are often soloists - Ricardo Morales (born in Puerto Rico) principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Alcides Rodriguez with the Atlanta Symphony (born in Venezuela). Sorry for only having clarinet options, but that's my field of expertise!
posted by alhadro at 5:28 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer: I don't know how much is on YouTube etc, but "Sphinx orchestra" "Sphinx organization" might be a good place to start--they are a group focused on supporting classical musicians of color, especially black and Latinx performers.
There are also a gazillion Asian soloists as I'm sure you know. Not coming up with timpanists or pianists right now, although I know there are millions of the latter and probably some of the former, but my favorite Japanese violinist is Sayaka Shoji.
posted by huimangm at 5:53 PM on July 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Adele Anthony on violin.

Kathleen Battle is a popular Opera singer (popular in that she gets gigs - be wary of the comment sections when looking her up because she's apparently hard to work with), as is Jessye Norman .

William Barton is an Aboriginal Australian soloist who plays modern western + indigenous instruments and sings.

A Far Cry (string ensemble) is about parity POC/white players (lead player is black american, the rest of the half are asian).

I suspect your son might like the Simon Bolivar Orchestra the most though!
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 5:53 PM on July 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You might enjoy Wynton Marsalis, the incredible trumpeter. He's got a lot of jazz recordings/videos, but you can also search for Wynton Marsalis orchestra -jazz to find classical stuff.
posted by amtho at 5:54 PM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I was also going to suggest the Sphinx orchestra.
Here's a trove of their videos (although some are interiews/speeches there are a ton of orchestral performances).
Not an orchestra, but you should also check out the Imani Winds.
posted by cushie at 6:23 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer: Here's Yo-Yo Ma on the cello.

Here's Kim Bomsori on the violin.

Here's Kev Marcus (Black Violin) on the violin. His channel is fun.
posted by jessamyn at 6:29 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer: Sheku Kanneh-Mason played cello at the most recent British Royal wedding.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:30 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer:
Black Pearl chamber orchestra. I'm not knowledgeable about classical music but have heard good things about them.
posted by sepviva at 7:16 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer: Black Violin might fit this bill.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 11:54 PM on July 10, 2019

Best answer: Tunde Jegede is a composer and musician who plays kora and cello. Here is a documentary about him. Here is a list of search results (kora concerto with orchestra.) Here he is playing Bach on cello.

List of searches for Esperanza Spalding who is just massively talented.

Or you could pick your way through search results using more general terms.
posted by glasseyes at 2:09 AM on July 11, 2019

Best answer: Along the lines of glasseyes' suggestion you could look for people playing instruments associated with different geographical areas and cultures, like the kora, sitar, gayageum, and so many more.
posted by trig at 3:32 AM on July 11, 2019

Best answer: The Chineke! Orchestra are amazing. They also have a junior orchestra, so your little one can see big kids playing classical music too. Here is there website with short videos. There are a bunch of videos on the BBC and on youtube as well if you search. Here is a video of a full concert.

"The Chineke! Foundation is a non-profit organisation which has been established to provide career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Chineke!'s motto is: 'Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music'. The organisation aims to be a catalyst for change, realising existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras."
posted by EllaEm at 6:47 AM on July 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Also if you fancy the music of a historical figure, the life of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, is AMAZING....

From the radio documentary linked above: "In today's programme she explores the remarkable life of Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the son of a slave who ended up being one of the finest violinists, composers and swordsman in Europe. And he also led the first all black regiment during the French Revolution against the King, whilst teaching music to Marie Antoinette."

I have no idea why there are not already a whole bunch of bioflicks, mini-series, and romance novels about him. This dude was the kind of revolutionary heart-throb swashbuckling hero we all need in our lives.
posted by EllaEm at 6:53 AM on July 11, 2019

Best answer: Demarre McGill, previously mentioned flutist, has video on Instagram here.

This video has interesting marimba visuals, but no POC.

This is cool. POC and plenty of good natured action. Hillcrest College Marimba Band.

I'm not especially into marimbas, but I searched them out a little because they have timpani-like action.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:29 AM on July 11, 2019

Best answer: Do you know about the Silk Road Ensemble? They're a very diverse group of musicians. There's a great documentary about them called The Music of Strangers, and I LOVED this bit featuring Wu Man.

Here's the Silk Road Ensemble's YouTube channel.

I also highly recommend Zofo Duet, a piano-four-hands duo: Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi. Here's the Zofo Duet YouTube page.
posted by kristi at 10:31 AM on July 11, 2019

Best answer: My extremely diverse orchestra students really like the (now radio-only) PBS show From the Top, which features kid classical musicians from about age 10-18. Two TV seasons and you can stream any episode (they all feature some chatting/bio stuff plus a performance, but you could skip to the performances). Lots of girls, and in Season 2, off the top of my head least episodes 1, 5, 6 and 10 feature non-white kids. The kids generally come off as pretty charming and it has been awesome for my string students to see that normal, non-freaky kids can play well.
posted by charmedimsure at 3:38 PM on July 13, 2019

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