‘I don’t look like the CEO of an orchestra’News
Mark Williams starts work at the Toronto Symphony. He’s the only orchestral chief of colour in North America.
“You do not move through your life thinking you are going to be the first anything,” he says. “Why would I be first? Now, I feel responsibility. I think anyone who is a person of colour in certain positions, one feels the weight, that what you do represents others, for better or for worse. I do know how much representation matters.
“I do not look like what the CEO of orchestra is supposed to look like,” he adds. “Whenever people are a bit surprised, it just underscores for me the work that needs to be done. And in many ways, I am an example of that work. I want to be a champion for this music. It is for everyone.”
UPDATE: Anwar Nasir became Executive Director of the Louisiana Philharmonic in July 2021.