Soloist is forced to apologise for errant tweet

Soloist is forced to apologise for errant tweet


norman lebrecht

August 21, 2015

Anne Akiko Meyers has been the subject of a hate campaign after she posted a foolish response to the birth of a non-white orchestra. Her response:  I wonder if you have to be black to solo with this orchestra? #reversediscrimination

The tweet was circulated on social media by a malign strings enterprise. Anne has now issued this contrite statement on

“Quickly, I realized the implications were just so horrible and dreadful that I took down the post almost immediately, about 20 minutes later,” Meyers told me this morning, speaking over the phone. “I am extremely sorry. It was a very big mistake and I in no way stand behind that question, in no way.”

End of non-story.



  • Jonathan M. Dunsby says:

    ==The tweet was circulated on social media by a malign strings enterprise ==

    Well it’s now been circulated by a well-known classical music blog !

    Maybe it could have been left to die rather than be resuscitated like this ?

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    What is a non-white orchestra? Is there a link announcing its birth?

  • Boris says:

    It gets more difficult to argue that musicians have higher IQ’s, that studying “classical” music makes one more empathic and a slew of other positive social aspects when one of our major ambassadors shows that, perhaps, it may be all a load of baloney. Especially if you type something idiotic and insensitive, process it in your mind and realize 20 MINUTES LATER that perhaps, in these heightened racially sensitive times, what was written was in really poor f*&king taste. Twit(ter) is right.

    • Andre Gaskins says:

      What kind of nonsensical logic is this? What does IQ have to do with making a racially insensitive comment?

      • Max Grimm says:

        It is unfortunately a commonly held belief that racism and bigotry are inversely proportional with the level of a person’s intelligence.

    • John says:

      I guess you never said anything you later regretted.

      • Alvaro says:

        If while writing those words your brain doesnt click that is inappropriate, then YOU are the problem.

        The same BS argument is done with police brutality: “after shoveling a 2 meter stick up a minority citizen’s @ss, the police was reprimanded and sent to “sensitivity training””.

        Maybe if you cant tell Whether its right or wrong while you are doing such things, you are too screwed up to be in the police (or an authorized cultural voice) in the first place.

        • Alistair says:

          If you’re saying racists have low IQ’s then you are saying that people who have low IQ’s are racists. You cannot have it both ways. If low IQ’s are linked then perhaps you are also racist. You’re IQ is not really up there judging from your blatant inability to spell simple words.

          • Max Grimm says:

            The notion of individuals with lower IQs demonstrating a greater propensity for racism is as flawed as the notion that bad spelling equals a lower IQ.

    • BP says:

      Musicians having high IQs is irrelevant to this incident. The fact is that musicians are still humans. All humans make mistakes, just like how Meyer posted an insensitive tweet. But only intelligent humans are willing to recognize their mistakes, admit that they are wrong, and make an apology.

  • Andre Gaskins says:

    This would not be a ‘non-story’ if this were done by someone who is universally (or even slightly) despised in the classical music world.

  • Lovedamusic says:

    A fine violinist, but poorly educated. Just because musicians are talented doesn’t mean they don’t require a general education.

  • Alvaro says:

    I wonder what norman would say if someone made the same “foolish” tweet relating to jewish musicians or members. So far this blog has viciously attacked any hint of perhaps maybe begin to think to approximate something even remotely close to a tweet with 1/1000 of the “foolishness” that Meyers tweeted about with respect to other groups of people. But thats objective journalism. or actually, its business as usual in the mysogynist, racist, and highly elitist classical music niche.

    The really funny thing is that now the wolf pretends to wear a sheep’s skin by focusing on the “values” of classical music. Well, this demonstrates those values perfectly. Next week she’ll go do “outreach” (what a disgusting word) with black kids, take lots pf pictures, and that was that. All is forgotten. The “poor artist”, its not her fault to be “so foolish”.

    Business as usual.

  • Dennis says:

    I fail to see what she has to apologize for. What is this “non-white orchestra” of which you speak? Clearly it sounds like some orchestral enterprise for which the main criterion of membership is not being white, so the question Miss Meyers asked is a valid one. By definition this orchestra is racist. After all, what would Norman and other bien pensant liberals say about an orchestra that defined itself as a “non-black orchestra” or a “non-asian orchestra”?

    • Bob says:

      You obviously don’t know what racist means. I’ll help you:

      “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

      No one in the black orchestra claimed their musicians are better than white people. People of a common race or culture are allowed to associate with each other.

      • Terence says:

        Really? as modified:

        “No one in the white orchestra claimed their musicians are better than black people. People of a common race or culture are allowed to associate with each other ”

        Try setting up a non-Black orchestra and see what response you get

  • pooroperaman says:

    It’s a fair question. What’s the problem with it? If an orchestra is going to discriminate (illegally) on racial grounds when recruiting players, why shouldn’t it discriminate (equally illegally) when hiring soloists?

    Given that the employment prospects of non-black players, including soloists, are (illegally) threatened by this, this is a legitimate concern for her – the only legitimate thing in this whole unsavoury business.

  • T. Manor says:

    With the advent of an “all minority orchestra,” it would appear that being a minority in certain regions of the world has a double-standard. Was there a need for a minority orchestra? And if so, why?
    It stands to reason the only possible answer is that minorities are not being allowed to play so they needed to start their own. This, of course, is ridiculous. Yet this group of musicians – named Chineke! – feels this is exactly the problem. From their “about us” page:
    The Chineke! Foundation is a non-profit organisation established to provide career opportunities for young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. At Chineke!, we champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music, and we aim to be a catalyst for change in the industry.
    Is “BME” a new organisation that just started?! Where is there charter?! Either way, a disturbing stance on the abilities of what talent does achieve. But it gets worse:
    Getting involved with the Chineke! Foundation represents a unique opportunity for individuals and organisations to help pave a path for a section of our society which remains almost unrepresented in classical music. In this way, Chineke! is not merely another orchestra, scholarship or outreach programme, but a glimpse of what the future of classical music could look like.
    Yikes! Unrepresented?! Did orchestral organisations become bigot farms, or did society finally realise that the term minority means the number of some people are less than others, therefore resulting in less representation in social efforts?

    What a world, what a world.

    • Max Grimm says:

      “BME” is not an organization but an abbreviation. The most commonly found definition listed by educational institutions is:

      “BME stands for Black and Minority Ethnicity, which includes members of the following British and international ethnicities: Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Indian other, Chinese, Asian other, Black African, Black Caribbean, other Black background, White and Asian mixed, White and African Caribbean mixed, other mixed background and other ethnic background.”

  • Martin says:

    The politically-correct police strike again. Is it any wonder Donald Trump is so popular?

  • Gerhard says:

    Ms. Meyers was certainly quite naive not to expect that in our times of PC induced shitstorms and mass hysteria the implications of a tweet can be “horrible and dreadful” indeed. But her withdrawn question, unwelcome as it may be to some, seems not that far fetched. This whole idea of discriminating for the sake of fighting discrimination brings back the memory of a slogan from my younger days: “fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity”.

    • Renee baker says:

      …so do we wait Gerhard for doors to open…it hasn’t happened but for precious few in classical music..why should they wait their turn…?

  • JMW says:

    They should ask her to play with them – in the section, after an audition of course.

  • Alvaro says:

    I am oceans away and the stink of neftaline, cynicism and repressed racism is ever bigger in this thread.

    Many of the comments issued here must come from people who use the phrase “I m not racist, BUT….” On a daily basis.

    So it turns out that racism works both ways? i forget, did you become the stewards of moral standards and decency before, or after the gold of the americas was sacked, people in africa were raped, tortured, murdered, enslaved, brutalized and the opium wars in china?or was it now that the “minority” populations of both europe and the USA is approaching 50%, yet the presence of “minorities” in orchestras is in the low single digits, and in the case of administrators it is essentially ZERO??

    Oh,but wait. Those are minorities, right? We should not be surprised at the discrepancies then.

    It all makes sense now.

  • Stephen says:

    The prigs are out in force again. It is all too easy to fire off an e-mail or on-line message in an over-hasty response – I have done it myself.

  • Juzef says:

    Let’s take it one step further: I am offended by the term “non-white” orchestra. How can you create an orchestra that excludes white (caucasian) people? Racism at its best. No wonder only idiots like Trump have enough common sense to call things what they are. Pretty soon it will not be possible to open your mouth without a lawyer being present.

  • William Safford says:

    As I’ve posted before: until recent history, what did one call an all-white all-male orchestra?

    An orchestra.

    So, I have little sympathy for those who decry the existence of “non-white” orchestras.

    I’ll let others speak for Europe and other areas, but in America, institutional racism is still alive and well in many areas, as are the aftereffects of past racism.

    Let’s explore that last point.

    Let’s stipulate that modern American orchestras do not now discriminate based on race. (That certainly was not once the case.)

    Where do auditioners for orchestras come from? Are they born fully-formed as musicians? Of course not. They become qualified to audition only after years of practice, tutelage, and performance in other ensembles.

    Let’s also stipulate that most modern American conservatories and universities do not currently discriminate based on race.

    Where do auditioners for such conservatories and universities come from? They come from high schools and/or home environments with the resources to prepare and equip a student for conservatory/university auditions.

    That’s where we see the effects of institutional racism: the dearth of opportunities for many young black children because of the de facto segregated primary and secondary schools, the dearth of music programs in poor and minority communities, the dearth of adequate wealth in black communities to fund music programs or own instruments because of structural racism and histories of redlining and other forms of discrimination, etc.

    And where do we see the aftereffects of past racism? One example is the dearth of black candidates for high-level orchestras. The most enlightened orchestra can’t attract black musicians who don’t exist because they were denied adequate appropriate education and training in their formative years.

    So, what are good reasons for non-white orchestras to exist? I’ll let the peanut gallery ponder that one. Maybe a few good answers will emerge.

    I hope some good comes of this errant tweet, such as promoting productive discussions that bring such inequities out into the open. Taking steps to address the lingering issues is an even better step.

    Finally, how many participants in this thread have actually performed in a non-white orchestra, I wonder. I did once, as a (white) guest. Then again, that particular orchestra resides in a country that is itself almost all black.

    • Gerhard says:

      If a group of top notch black orchestra players feels the wish to build an orchestra whose most formative feature is the explicit exclusion of their white colleagues, I’m certainly in no position to tell them that they couldn’t or shouldn’t do this. Their point, as stated on their website, is to show the world that black people can perform classical music at the highest level, something the members of this orchestra proof anyway on a daily basis if one looks at their impressive roster. Actions like this one are commonly refered to as “reverse racism”, and they are a response to perceived racist discrimination. In this respect it is obviously something very different from the genuine racism, which stems from hate and prejudice. My only problem is the underlying message that is legitimate to sort people on the basis of their ethnicity, a belief I do not share.

  • KES Maestro says:

    i beg to differ. This is a HUGE story. The comment by the artist was childish and totally unprofessional. She knew it the moment she wrote it. People around the world are trying to facilitate opportunities for those people who have been shut out of the classical music scene for a variety of reasons. Her small minded comment IS the issue. That it is being dismissed by some IS the issue. Now, a return to civility and purpose, not condescension.

  • Alvaro says:

    The West Eastern Divan orchestra limits its members to: jewish people, Arab people, and spanish people (bc they initially funded them).

    If you are “joe” from alabama, or if you are xin Wong from china you CANT join.

    But hey, Barenboim (jewish arab) confuctor leads the project. Is he a racist?

    The BS. Arguments of the old farts that wish to go back to all male, all white orchestras simoly falls apart when one of their own does it. Some might even want to bring back slavery. Sorry folks – your kind is over: in 20 years white people will be the Minority in both Europe and the USA. Thats why rich clowns come out now desperate trying to do outrageous things to stop the inevitable.

    • Gerhard says:

      Do you really want to have a serious discussion? If yes, you will have to express your views in a less aggressive and insulting manner. If not, you are merely trolling.