Engaging Under-Represented Communities: A Comparative Analysis of Professional Symphony Orchestras
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This Master’s Research Project looked into the various ways that professional symphony orchestras are engaging with their community, specifically with under-represented populations. The paper begins with an overview of the American symphony orchestra, and clarifying why it is now needing to engage more with its community rather than only performing concerts. The research also presents various literature reviews and comparative analyses that shed light on what is currently being offered by symphony orchestras around the country, including an indepth exploration of community engagement and education programming around the country. The study then focuses on comparative case studies highlighting the programs and populations being served by the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony and the Boise Philharmonic. This project found that there is a wide variety of programming for underrepresented populations and is usually specific to the community that the symphony represents. A major focus among professional symphony orchestras is centered around diversity, equity and inclusion, with many looking to develop initiatives within the entire organization.