Roll on the gay times in US orchestras

Roll on the gay times in US orchestras


norman lebrecht

May 13, 2022

The League of American Orchestras has announced its first in-person conference since Covid.

Among the activities is something described as ‘Networking Opportunities for ALAANA Administrators; New LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group; League Orchestra Management Leadership Programs Alumni, and More.’

Meanwhile in Philadelphia: ‘Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra Present First-Ever Pride Concert Featuring Violinist Blake Pouliot, the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, and Martha Graham Cracker June 2, 2022.’

Diversity is breaking out all over.


  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Elsewhere NL asks why certain certain commenters seem to be so bitter? Apropos this snide little piece it might be worth wondering why a particular commenter shares his far too many acid comments about ”Gay’ issues in general and YNS in particular.

    • Singeril says:

      I noticed the exact same hypocrisy when just reading the headline (let alone the “article”). Pot, meet kettle!

    • True North says:

      I just commented this very thought on that thread. The lack of awareness is really staggering.

  • M McAlpine says:

    I assume a codebreaker is provided to decipher the announcement?

  • MPMcGrath says:

    So cool!

  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s by far not diverse enough, I miss signals of the QWERTY people all around. As if we, as an overwhelming minority, are entirely superfluous. But without our efforts, people would have to write their letters themselves.


  • CA says:

    Will there be special networking opportunities for other genders, even for specific races? Some might feel excluded if there’s not.

  • Harry Collier says:

    When can we expect a vegan concert, with (female) vegan players and black vegan composers? Should be a big hit (and healthy, too, it is claimed).

    • bored says:

      Perhaps when being vegan is punishable by death in multiple countries, illegal in dozens more and leads to life altering physical and mental attacks in those it’s considered “fine”

      • JP says:

        Then we can look forward to atheist, Jewish, and journalist concerts too! Fun!

      • John Borstlap says:

        In some villages in N-Iran, vegetarians are pushed from their camels if detected. But the ayatollas advise tolerance.

  • Fenway says:

    In the interest of not being called a nasty person I will not comment.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    What has being gay got to do with making music?

  • msc says:

    There has always been a lot of diversity in classical music. Sexual diversity has just not been advertised.

  • James Weiss says:

    How about just presenting great music? Would that be asking too much? Must everything be segmented into this group and that group?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed, it is often the labelling that creates the problems it tries to solve, because it stimulates group think.

  • Hercule says:

    People concern themselves with the strangest things. In this case why can’t it be about music making? So much energy wasted.

  • Couperin says:

    Please everyone, don’t say ANYTHING until violist Max Raimi comes down from on high to provide his insights.

  • Daniel says:

    The entire field of classical music is already 50% gay

    • Musicman says:

      I’ve said this before and I will say it again, but Yannick only got the job at the Met because of his sexual orientation. While he was proven as a fantastic orchestral conductor, he had little to no operatic experience at the time of his appointment.

      Fabio Luisi, on the other hand, had a wealth of operatic experience and had already been the music director of major companies.

      After Gelb was forced to fire Levine, the gay mafia was furious! Had he replaced him with a straight man like Luisi, his head would have rolled all the way into the Hudson River! So he hired the inferior candidate to save his own ass!

      Yannick has done a marvelous job in Philly, but the Met should be getting the best OPERATIC conductor available and not taking less to please a certain group of people.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        What absolute nonsense. Gay had nothing to do with it. You overestimate the power of the gay mafia, if one even exists.

        Yannick had the very generous backing of the (late) uber-wealthy Jacqueline Desmarais. If there’s any mafia at the Met, it’s the well-heeled.

      • Herr Doktor says:

        Musicman, this is one of the funniest posts I’ve read on SD (whether intended or not) – and that’s saying a lot. Really! I laughed out loud.

        I have little doubt you probably wanted to suggest that Peter Gelb wasn’t trying so much to save his ass, as doing something else with it–right?

        File this under the category, “Where the oblivious and the loquacious intersect.”

      • Tom Phillips says:

        Luisi left the Met long before Levine’s (far too belated) firing.

        • Musicman says:

          Luisi left because he got screwed and was not offered the music director position he deserved after saving the Met’s ass when Levine became incapacitated!

        • Tiredofitall says:

          And there were secession plans with Luisi…who ultimately got screwed by PG. Maestro Luisi is in a better place(s).

    • Monty Earleman says:

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that…..

    • Fritz Grantler says:

      Daniel – Personal experience ?

  • AnnaT says:

    Even for this rabid crew, what’s wrong with a meeting of “League Orchestra Management Leadership Programs Alumni?”

    Those are good training programs and the alum are well represented across the orchestral world.

  • soavemusica says:

    Diversity? How many confessional Christians or Conservatives are promoted in the “Liberal Arts”?

    It is written: Psalm 92: 1 “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.”

    Leaving it to the liberals to attend and fund the Pride Parade institutions. Keep them all, or the whole world.

  • Kenny says:

    Most definitely not true. Asinine.

  • Laszlo says:

    Utterly ridiculous. Instead of normalizing the acceptance of their existence they make programs, parades, flags, etc as elitists. I am totally in favor of tolerance, but when it’s on your face ALL THE TIME, I really get fatigue.

  • Paul Dawson says:

    Why are we atheists never included in diversity targets? In the US, despite the first amendment, we are forced to use currency bearing the words “In God we trust” and I certainly do not.

    I suspect that a musical group of we atheists could provide a completely fresh interpretation of sacred music.

    Continuing my whinge, I had brilliant ginger hair for the first 50 years or so of my life. This led to a boss reviewing me with the phrase “Paul has the sort of temper associated with the colour of his hair”.

    Perhaps a ginger musician could bring a fresh perspective to “Rage over a lost penny” and a group of us could really bring fury to “Dies Irae”.

    Taking my diversity whinge on still further, being single and not gay puts me in another minority which I don’t think I’ve ever seen discussed. Not that I have any kind of voice myself, but I suspect that one of us could really bring insight to “ein mädchen oder weibchen.”

    When it comes to causes for diversity whinges, Matthew 7.7 seems to have hit the nail on the head “Seek and ye shall find.”

  • MacroV says:

    People are aware that there are now – and long have been – a lot of gay people in classical music, right? So the headline could just be “Business as usual at U.S. orchestras.”

  • BigSir says:

    As there must be a number of experts looking at this page can someone identify: I, A, + and assuming Q is queer, how it is different than gay, thus needing it own letter.

  • George Daugherty says:

    “Roll On The Gay Times?” Are you serious Norman? As an openly gay conductor for the past 44 years who has guest conducted every major orchestra in this country, most recently Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh, NY Phil, etc. etc., I am outraged and insulted by your headline alone, and the completely tone deaf and snide angle of your post, which was bordering on bigotry. And certainly was an insult to YNS, the most remarkable conductor to emerge on the worldwide stage in many generations. (i.e. that his sexuality is even an issue.) Do you honestly think that this is just the start of diversity among conductors? I can name about 100 for you who are/were gay, not that it matters. (And history tells us that this has been the case for centuries in every area of the arts.) And certainly, orchestras have been celebrating Pride concerts for many decades, teaming up with their local Gay Men’s and Gay Women’s choruses. There is nothing new about this. Furthermore, orchestras, ballet companies, opera companies, and other artistic institutions are places where diversity WAS embraced, welcomed, and encouraged for many decades when that was not the case in other areas of the American scene. This posting was an insult to the tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ who have brought their talents and brilliance to the arts, and still continue to do so. And equally disheartening were some of the snide remarks to some of your other commenters. It’s 2022 man. You are out of step with the world, and certainly with the world of classical music and the arts. Gender identity has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with being a musician, a dancer, a singer, a performer, an administrator. Gender identity/diversity shouldn’t even be part of the musical conversation. It’s not something to be singled out . . . it is something that SHOULD be just happening every single day in our world. “Roll On The Gay Times.” That was just disgusting. Shame on you. I know this is the last “Slipped Disc” I will ever read, because you, sir, are irrelevant to what is going on in our world, as this post more than proved. In case you’re wondering, modern-day artists don’t look to be singled out or applauded because of our sexual or gender identity — we look for that to be a non-issue, and for the real issue to be our performances, our music-making, our artistry.

    • BigSir says:

      “And certainly, orchestras have been celebrating Pride concerts for many decades”

      “Gender identity/diversity shouldn’t even be part of the musical conversation. It’s not something to be singled out”

      You can’t have it both ways.

      • DWL says:

        Yes you can have it both ways. Performing concerts to celebrate Pride week reaches out to a community of people. However, the sexual identity of the people who perform that concert — or any concert — is irrelevant.

    • Musicman says:

      If Yannick’s sexuality is no issue, then why was he hired at the Met with hardly any operatic experience over other candidates like Fabio Luisi (who is straight) who had a wealth of operatic experience and had already been a music director of major companies? That doesn’t sound about the music to me. Yannick is a brilliant orchestral conductor, but operatically, his dossier didn’t couldn’t hold a candle to Luisi’s at the time of his appointment.

  • María Delgado says:

    Tutto declina. (Falstaff, Verdi)

  • Ar says:

    Instead of inclusiveness, such strange ideas segregate people. Leave music without politics.

  • james says:

    Music isn’t about one’s sexuality but about creativity or so I thought

  • Deborah W says:

    *** George Daugherty writes: I can name about 100 for you who are/were gay, not that it matters ***

    Don’t forget bisexuals and transgenders. Even better, don’t overlook bisexuals and transgenders who are African-American and/or Muslim too.

  • AG says:

    It’s as though the author and many of the commenters are oblivious to the fact that parts of the US are passing laws making it illegal to even mention in public schools that gay people exist, and attacking public libraries for stocking books that feature gay characters. We should be proud to stand up and support our LGBTQ+ population in the face of the bigotry and erasure they often face in the US.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      You begin by talking about gay people but then jump to “our LGBTQ+ population”. Why do you treat “gay” and “LGBTQ+” as though they were interchangeable? Glueing gay and trans (and others) under one initialism is as irrational as saying that all single parents and all sex workers are “our SPSW population”.

  • WAndrews says:

    Is sexual orientation the first and foremost criteria in all classical music now? As a gay man, I am appalled by this nonsense. Who cares who anybody sleeps with? Standards in rehearsals and performances are the only things which matter. American classical music has gone down the toilet. Just listen and you’ll know what I mean. You poor Americans are so boring.