US orchestra: Conductor wanted. No whites or Asians need apply

US orchestra: Conductor wanted. No whites or Asians need apply


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2021

Reverse discrimination is rampant at the Buffalo Philharmonic. It is outed by the National Review.

Perhaps the most egregious example yet comes in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s (BPO) recently announced posting for a “Conductor Diversity Fellow,” a position whose responsibilities — if one reads the job description carefully — are virtually identical to those of an assistant conductor in peer orchestras, but for one key difference: that the posting explicitly solicits applications only from those who “self-identify as members of historically underrepresented groups in American orchestras, including but not limited to African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent.”

Two major races are conspicuously left off that list of “underrepresented groups,” and the subtext is clear: No whites or Asians need apply.

Read on here.

UPDATE: Some commenters have objected to our highlighting this source.

National Review is an American twice-monthly conservative magazine, founded by William F. Buckley in 1955. It is often held up to be a mouthpiece for Trumpist, rightwing views. dies not endorse its agenda, any more than it supports a range of far-left egalitarian views that are sometimes quoted on this site. We report what is there.

What is particularly egregious about the Buffalo ad is the exclusion of Asians, definedly a racist act. NR was the first to spot this.


  • marcus says:

    Simple-given how captured America appears to be by trans gender self ID bollocks you just have to call your self black. Sorted.

    • justin says:

      Yes, the operative phrase is “self identify”.

      Legally, it is illegal for an employer to ask for proof of one’s ethnicity.

      Politically and socially, it would be politically incorrect to produce proof.

      Thus, legally, when Professor Elizabeth Warren self identified as Cherokee when she was hired by Harvard, her employer did not and could not demand she produce DNA evidence.

      However, politically, when Senator Elizabeth Warren DID provide DNA proof of Cherokee ancestry dating back to 6 to 10 generations, she was widely pilloried for insensitivity and apologized to the tribe saying “Cherokee Nation tribal citizen is rooted in centuries of culture and laws not through DNA tests”.

      To sum up:

      ANYONE can, and should, apply for the Buffalo Philharmonic’s “Diversity Fellow” position, so long as the applicant “self identifies” as one, or more, of the listed groups. No proof required.

      • anon says:

        It’s all about the casinos, an exclusive right granted by the federal government to Native American tribes.

        You’d think that the Cherokee Nation would be proud to claim as its own, a Cherokee sitting senator and potential future president.

        Nope, the last thing the Cherokee Nation wants is a rush of blond-hair blue-eyed hipsters and yuppies getting DNA tests showing Cherokee ancestry, and then filing a claim to open up a casino right next to theirs.

        I dunno, if you were Native American, would you prefer to conduct an orchestra in Buffalo, or to own a casino in Buffalo?

        I’d buy the Buffalo Philharmonic and put it in my casino. And hire a white man to do the dirty work of conducting.

      • James Weiss says:

        Correction: Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test actually showed she had no American Indian ancestry of any significance. That’s why she apologized. The other interesting thing her is that they seem to indicate that actual Africans need not apply nor anyone from the Caribbean or blacks from Europe. This is the problem with the term African American. It excludes many black peoples.

      • MacroV says:

        Elizabeth Warren did not self-identify as Cherokee in the recruitment for Harvard Law School (or for any of her several previous positions). She was hired because she was a superstar in her field – and being a woman probably helped, given that law faculties were often dominated by White men. The only time this identity came into play was when Harvard needed to show in statistics how it was “diverse” and categorized this blond white lady as part Cherokee.

  • Phillip says:

    Since the job description includes ‘conducting’ the Buffalo Philharmonic, it is worth noting that ANYONE born in the United States… regardless of race… is part of an underrepresented group when it comes to being a conductor of a major US Orchestra. So are women of any ethnicity.

    JoAnn Falletta, their current conductor, seemingly couldn’t apply for this position if she were just starting out.

    It is beyond horrible seeing arts organization becoming the very thing they claim to abhor.

  • IntBaritone says:

    Regardless of my feelings on the policy…in the world of orchestras, especially in the US, whites and Asians are not underrepresented, clearly. Thus, their exclusion from a list of *underrepresented groups* is not conspicuous, but simply common sense.

    That said, the National Review is complete garbage. One can pretty much disregard the entirety of the commentary found in that publication. We should all be using better news sources, and continually strive for unbiased news. But, folks, the National Review ain’t where it’s at…

    Be best, everyone.

  • MacroV says:

    I realize that our friends across the pond may not always be familiar with various outposts of American, um, “journalism,” but I would offer the friendly advice to weigh anything from the National Review with a boulder of salt.

    So they’re looking to have a conductor on staff who helps promote diversity. With orchestras increasingly trying to maintain relevance with modern society, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Don’t let the National Review suck you in, Norman.

    That said, there are surely a number of well-qualified conductors they could consider without the orchestra being so explicit about their target candidate pool.

  • Francis Bacon says:

    There is only one thing I hope for:

    We all die suddenly in a few months.

    We are going to lose 50 more years before the end of this craziness. And I’m not going to live that much 🙂

    • Nick says:

      Allow me to correct you, Francis Bacon. It will last much longer than 50 years! Bolsheviks held power for 70 years nad they did not have the modern technology. With the speed of modern technology the current bastards might last anywhere from 100 to a 1000 years!
      But our wish not to see this nightmare will be granted by the Higher Authority.

  • Y says:

    Leftwing extremists are destroying America and the West at large. The damage they are doing is irreparable. God help us.

  • CA says:

    Eventually whites will need protections in order to be hired or apply. We need to move beyond this. Most everyone needs and deserves to work in order to earn a living. This (diversity) to me just makes it legal to discriminate based on race.

  • Patrick says:

    So, what is your problem with this? As a white male conductor, I think this is great! We need more non-white conductors, right? Or can you not look into the future?

    • Anonymous says:

      So the solution is to discriminate? I know you think you’re part of the solution, but you’re actually part of the problem. Maybe you’ll feel differently when you lose a job and income because of a quota.

    • James Weiss says:

      We need more good conductors. Period.

    • John says:

      I’m alright Jack, pull up the ladder! You’re fine with it because you weren’t discriminated against when you were starting out. Now you’re keen to virtue signal while other gifted and hard working people are having their opportunities stolen from them.

  • The National Review was founded by William F. Buckley to promote his white supremacy notions clothed in lofty academic-speak. That is a matter of public record.

    Turning to NR to interpret job postings is an exercise in foolishness. I wouldn’t trust them to add 2+2.

    A “conducting fellow”? This post has probably been underwritten by some donor to add to the staff the orchestra already has. You don’t need to worry that a white person has lost his job over this.

    • V. Lind says:

      Not the point. It is going down the road of explicit racial hiring. Slippery slope.

    • Bone says:

      “The Intercept” is now an organ of public record? Almost every comment made by Buckley has to be viewed through the lens of his contempt for New Deal politics designed to buy the votes of blacks and minorities in perpetuity; the result? Black middle class families are nearly extinct; violence in the black community is an epidemic; single parent households are the norm; and nearly half of black families subsist on welfare.

      • John says:

        Then discriminate against middle-class people. This just gives a privileged black person, whose experience has no relation to the social group you describe, unfair advantages over a privileged white person.

      • A Pianist says:

        The Intercept is on the left and the National Review is on the right. Why must commentators go on web sites and do this perpetual song and dance where their preferred side is “mainstream common sense” and their opposing side is trash. Such and such left-wing magazine is “mainstream and objective” while its counterpart on the right is “extreme” and to be ignored — or the reverse, it doesn’t matter! It’s a dumb attitude either way. Read the damn article, if it’s soundly reasoned so be it, and if not not.

      • Muzikmann30 says:

        Sorry, the New Deal was designed to do…what?

    • Americaninparis says:

      The two above me are letting their bias show.

  • caranome says:

    It should be sued out of existence for this blatant illegal discrimination. Why do whites and Asians take it lying down? Now we have a new racial category–non-Asian minority.

    • Americaninparis says:

      Take it to court and watch it get laughed out.

    • facts says:

      It’s BLATANTLY discriminatory!
      At the least it promulgates racism against anyone bearing a white heritage including jews, etc.

      For those who can not only read but actually intellectualize the text taken directly from the “ELIGIBILITY” passage; it states “U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents who self-identify as members of historically underrepresented groups in American orchestras, including but not limited to African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent.”

      Oh! For those who are stuck in the loonie Left, they indeed require applicants to be LEGAL in their status. How ‘offensive’!!!!!

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    So… What’s the problem? This is precisely why the Americans voted for Biden and the Social Justice Woke crowd, isn’t it? I was under the impression that this is how we win the war against the tRumptard Tory troglodytes.

  • PaulD says:

    Unless the Buffalo Phil has been ordered to do this by a judge or by a consent agreement, this may be a violation of Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act. Somebody should lawyer up and put a stop to this.

    SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]

    (a) Employer practices

    It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

    (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

    (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

  • E.M. says:

    Nice click bait-y headline. Isn’t that the whole point of the diversity fellowship?

    • obviously... says:

      Now, now – you’re just using your common sense right there.

      I love all of the hyperventilating about some fantastical left-wing takeover of the US, when a third of the Supreme Court was placed by a right-wing seditionist, twice impeached.

  • Bone says:

    Not reverse discrimination; just plain old discrimination.

    • Americaninparis says:

      Come into the 21st century with us, will you? Leave Lebrecht behind, there’s no hope for him.

      • Hayne says:

        Everything goes in cycles my friend. We are near the nadir and people are having had enough. You are the new hidebound conservatives that will be in the proverbial “dustbin of history.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Rock bottom. Shameful what a race to the bottom this ridiculous woke culture has become. I could count the number of talented colleagues who never made it, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background. These jobs are nearly an impossible work of politics to get in the first place, and to deny opportunities to qualified candidates based on race is outrageous. Imagine if a company restricted (overtly) their CEO search to an under-represented ethnic group. I wonder if someone familiar with NY state law could chime in. I applaud Norman for calling this what it is: racism, plain and simple.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    The Buffalo Philharmonic website lists an existing Assistant Conductor — Jaman E. Dunn — so presumably the duties of the Conductor Diversity Fellow are not identical with those of the Assistant Conductor. Some explanation just might be helpful.

  • Ann Jackson says:

    What about women?? Talk about underrepresented! You even left them out…
    And speaking of reparations … Where’s all the housekeeping and child rearing pay?

  • I remember when The National Review said that Obama’s mother was a communist because in the 1950s only a communist white woman would marry a black man. And there was the Ann Coulter article that said we should invade Islamic countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.

    Hint to our European friends, Buffalo, NY isn’t named after water buffalo, though I think Norman is buffaloing some of his readers, especially in the more conservative regions of Europe concerned with maintaining Leitkultur and whiteness.

  • “What it comes to is that if we, who can scarcely be considered a white nation,
    persist in thinking of ourselves as one, we condemn ourselves, with the truly white
    nations, to sterility and decay, whereas if we could accept ourselves as we are, we
    might bring new life to the Western achievements, and transform them.”

    -James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)

  • japecake says:

    Again, for the people in the back: despite rote cries of “racism,” it is not the automatic reason for such “disparities.” Cultural and personal preferences are powerful. Sorry, but the number of kids from the communities singled out who listen to Mendelssohn and Stravinsky is vanishingly small compared to the numbers for more popular genres. Classical music is there for everyone who wants it—and not everyone does. The number of conductors from some groups is small because the pool of excellent, highly trained candidates is small. (One might also note a similar scarcity of white and Asian artists in the topmost echelon of, say, hip hop.) The perhaps unintended consequence of this mandate is that any candidate who falls within the guidelines will face extra scrutiny, even skepticism, because of the foregrounding of their heritage as a stated qualification. Cordoning off opportunities for some based on skin color “because diversity” is odious. Buffalo isn’t engaging in reverse racism—it’s just plain racism.

    • Muzikmann30 says:

      Not quite with the hip hop analogy, plenty of non-black artists thrive in that genre and, arguably, the biggest name in hip hop is Eminem. In case you’re not sure what he looks like, Google can help.

  • Rob says:

    Talent will always shine out eventually, whatever your skin colour is, irrespective of ‘tick box’ colour.

  • Michael McGrath says:

    “Conductor Diversity Fellow“ – Orwellian Doublespeak is self-righteously alive and well and espoused by complacent complicit racists.
    By the way. I’d like to know. “Fellow” is surely no longer appropriate language. Can you have female fellows? Trying to be perfect in this world where everyone but me is perfect is such a tough task.

    • MWnyc says:

      Fellows, in the definition used here, are those who hold a fellowship. Of course they can be female. (See, for example, the MacArthur Fellows, who receive the so-called “genius grants”.)

  • Herbie G says:

    Welcome to the Third Reich US style 2021.

  • Brian says:

    It’s sad that right-wing rags like the National Review have to go after classical music for initiatives to try and promote even a modest degree of inclusivity and diversity in a very white and homogeneous field.

    All I can say is bravo to the Buffalo Philharmonic for trying to make classical music a wider tent. We need more such initiatives.

  • TP says:

    There is no such thing as “reverse discrimination.” Discrimination is discrimination.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    I couldn’t care less about what they do in the US, as long as Europe does not catch their sex/race/inclusion/positive-discrimination non-sense and other similar endemic diseases.

    • V. Lind says:

      Have you not been reading on this site about the ETO controversy?

      And in case you are about to say anything about England, please remember that Britain is a part of Europe.

      But I agree with your sentiment. I too hope no other European countries fall prey to this sort of thing. The way to treat lack of diversity is to make sure that there is music education for all, so that tastes, preferences and a knowledge base can be formed. And from there will spring the artists and audiences of the future.

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        Brilliant reply. I agree 100%

      • Roberto says:

        The English have never considered themselves European and so we do not consider them Europeans. It is especially so after Brexit. I add to Frau Geigerin: I couldn’t care less what the US or UK are doing. I wish we do not get influenced by their collective insanity.

        • V. Lind says:

          Please remember that the European Union is a political entity. The continent of Europe is a geographical one.

          Are you telling me that the idealogues of Hungary, the economic incompetents of Greece and the soi-disant powerhouses of France and Germany all look at being European in the same way? Have the former iron curtain lot shared in the acceptance of refugees as mandated by Brussels?

  • Anonymous says:

    National Review is suddenly ‘Trumpist’? That’s laughable. Have you not read the magazine? While they offer a wide view of conservatism, they are decidedly not Trumpist.

  • John says:

    Not sure why it’s any more racist to exclude Asians than people of European descent.

  • Alank says:

    Your so-called update is appalling That the National Review was founded by William Buckley is the only fact contained in that update box. The implication that he and his successors are populist racists is a typical smear of leftist totalitarians who view anyone who deviates from their ideology as one who must be cancelled Buckley was a highly cultivated conservative who invigorated the conservative thought in the US and purged the movement of any association with Anti-Semitism or racism (unlike the modern American Democratic Party or the British Labor Party). He was a fine musician and regularly invited progressives to debate him in a civil manner on his “Firing LIne” Program His successors at that magazine carry on in the same vein.

  • William Frank Jr. says:

    “It is often held up to be a mouthpiece for Trumpist, rightwing views.”

    Right-wing, yes, but I’ve read every issue of NR for the past 25 years and say they were one of the leading voices against Trump during the primaries and during his presidency.

    (During the period leading up to the general election, their editorial board urged choosing the lesser of two evils, but that stance was more anti-Hillary than it was pro-Donald.)

  • Monty Earleman says:

    At least they are open and honest about it. Every university in the US is operating under these guidelines for all new hires- but it’s all “nudge nudge wink wink anyone may apply”.

  • Dora Holden says:

    Affirmative action makes a great deal of sense in this particular industry.

  • Dora Holden says:

    Utilizing the National Review as a source weakens whatever credibility your article may have had.

    And everybody knows about William F Buckley.

    You would have been better off to leave him out of it. LOL

  • Music Lover says:

    Aren’t there already enough Hispanic origin conductors in the U.S? from Venezuela, Columbia, Mexico, Nicaragua, etc… how many Asian origin conductors can you name?

  • Jimmie says:

    Correction: National Review is one of the most anti-Trump publications out there. They jumped the shark when Trump won in 2016. It used to be a conservative publication but reversed course after Trump won in 2016. Now they are a floundering publication seeking fellow anti-Trumpers.

  • Peter says:

    “Some commenters have objected to our highlighting this source”.

    Who ARE these people. I want to meet them! I do start to believe that this is a particular species of people only existing in the dark corners of the world wide web.

  • Nightowl says:

    Show me a place where a conductor is wanted and I’ll show you a place where the rainbow ends and a pot of gold exists…

  • Cassandra says:

    The National Review, early on in Trump’s campaign against Clinton, actually devoted an entire issue to trashing Trump and Trumpism