Seattle Symphony’s first black player auditioned down the phonemain
Bruce Lawrence, a Harlem bassist, played with Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane before he got bitten by the symphonic bug. After spells with the CBC orchestra in Ottawa and the Syracuse Symphony, he got a call from Seattle and played to them down the phone.
‘There were maybe 10 [African-American symphony players] in the whole country,’ said Gerard Schwarz, conductor at the time. ‘He was not only the first in Seattle, but one of the first in the whole country.’
Bruce has died aged 88. Read a full obit here.