The Cleveland Orchestra picks a resident composer

The Cleveland Orchestra picks a resident composer


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2023

The composer, flute player and producer Allison Loggins-Hull has been named as Composer Fellow of the Cleveland Orchestra for the next three years, it was confirmed today.

Chicago born, she lives with her family in Montclair, New Jersey.



  • Matt says:

    Of course she was chosen, she met all the criteria and Jesse Montgomery is already Composer In Residence with CSO

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      Have you anything constructive to say about her music?

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you?

        • Hugo Preuß says:

          No, I had never heard of her. That’s why I refrained from making any judgment.

          Youtube is our friend. By now I have listened to her “Homeland” and “The Pattern” and quite liked both pieces.

          But my point was that the original post was pure racism without anything about the music. And I do not believe for a second that you didn’t understand that perfectly well.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh shocking, a DEI pick. I can’t speak to her work, only the optics. Best of luck to her.

  • Bone says:

    Blackness and wokeness are not exactly the best qualities for a composer, but I’m sure it checked some boxes in the DEI workbook for dummies.
    Whatever. Hope this dumb orchestra gets what it paid for.

  • Fenway says:

    What else would you expect from Cleveland? This pick was done by their new DEI gender-neutral it. Read this woman’s bio. Clearly an affirmative action hire. She has never written for a large orchestra, just chamber orchestras. The CSO has become a woke joke.

  • MMcGrath says:

    My response, prompted by your photo and the entitlement greetings card the person is holding. “Where are all the modern-day composers of ANY shade who are worth hearing?”

    Furthermore: “Get over your gender and skin color. It’s frankly quite offensive.”

  • E Rand says:

    Let the masterpieces flow! Watch out Beethoven! On a totally unrelated subject-there seems to be no bottom to institutional self-abasement in the USA. Full participation in the very thing that will bring it ruin and death.

    • Ñame says:

      Do you mean to say: reject modernity and embrace tradition?

      • E Rand says:

        There’s always someone who says that after one of my comments. I don’t know what it means. You can generally assume that I wrote what I meant, or close to it.

        I reject you, though. You and DEI suicide culture.

      • Bone says:

        If by reject modernity you mean stop awarding positions to people who haven’t written a single large scale symphonic work but are appointed to compose works for symphonic orchestra, then yes (probably).

  • RW2013 says:

    Festival of Ticks.

  • Gary Freer says:

    perhaps the BBC Singers could commission a farewell piece?

  • Herr Forkenspoon says:

    Have any of the commenters listened to her music, or are y’all just nitpicking, homophobic racists?

  • AnnaT says:

    Even for SD, these comments are shocking, truly blatantly racist sh!t. Some of you have managed to hit all the marks: comparing her to another Black female composer (they had to choose her because Jessie Montgomery is spoken for!); repeated references to DEI; snide, witless comments about hip hop; remarks about “wokeness” and stupidity; comparing her unfavorably to Beethoven (lol).

    If Cleveland had chosen a white male composer called, eg, Ted Morris, who had also written for chamber orchestra but not full orchestra, the comments would be *very* different.

    • Freewheeler says:

      Yeah, it’s a larf, innit?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really. Truly racist? It seems like the majority of the commenters here are simply looking for the approach of a meritocracy.

      Best person for the job. Simple as that. But overall that’s not what is happening today, sadly.

      Kindly keep your ego in check before you assume all of humanity and the commenters here are evil.

      • AnnaT says:

        Yes, truly racist. Shall I help you out? It has to do with seeing a Black woman and jumping to the conclusion that the hire could have nothing to do with “merit;” insisting on one’s own right to be the arbiter of that merit; and assuming that no Black musician could ever be “the best person for the job,” which is in any case a totally ludicrous proposition, because there are far more composers who could do the job than there are positions.
        So, keep your grievances in check along with your hyperbole (All of humanity! Evil!) and get yourself some smelling salts if you need them. To assume a Black person is unqualified, incapable, incompetent, a bad hire, mediocre, etc., IS racism.

        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t at all. You’re making a lot of assumptions (“that I *jumped* to a conclusion”). Since you are invalidating my right to be an arbiter of merit, perhaps you’d care to state your own qualifications?

          The picture Norman posted, as well as her composition titles (if you’d care to look) as well as her lack of relevant work experience tell her story perfectly well.

          To label a person racist because they question the relative merits of an appointment in a highly competitive field, where the indicators are obvious that the hire is DEI related is also racism.

          Now why don’t you go bully someone else.

          • AnnaT says:

            You absolutely did, from your first comments. And yes, when you spew racist bs, people are going to push back.That’s not you being “bullied,” that’s you being disagreed with. And rightly so.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Quite by coincidence, I heard a work by Loggins-Hull just last week, in a solo cello recital by Alisa Weilerstein. The recital’s format, in which pieces and composers were left unidentified until after the performance, made for unprejudiced listening. Loggins-Hull’s three-movement “Chasing Balance” was an absorbing and enjoyable experience. I’d be happy to encounter more of her work.

  • Martyn Sandersen says:

    Even by the low standard of the usual drivel in the SD comments, i am surprised at how low many of these commenters have sunk to, usually the cloak of anonymity of course.

    Amazing to see the people who constantly cry about identity politics apply identity politics to a person they care to know nothing about!

    Lookup her works “homeland” and “the pattern” for some outstanding compositions.

  • perturbo says:

    The racism on display here is appalling. Have any of you heard her music, or are you assuming she was selected solely because of race and gender?

  • Jobim75 says:

    What a bold move, not at all dans ” l’ air du temps”…..

  • James Hirschfeld says:

    This is the most sexist, racist, and toxic place in the internet. What an embarrassment for classical music but also a blessing that we can see the racism and sexism up close and unfiltered. It’s rare that folks are so openly racist, although next time I encourage you to leave your full name as I have.

    • E Rand says:

      no, you courageous white knight. It’s just the unvarnished, unsiloed reaction to the very obvious game being played in front of our very eyes. People are SICK of this cultural death cult.

  • Eric says:

    I hope you are reading these comments, Norman, and that you find them as appalling as most of your readers do. It’s shameful that the most widely read site in our industry contains such racist comments.

    It’s not just the comments though, this whole post is designed to trigger these trolls. How about some accountability? You write the bare minimum about this composer and then cherry pick the photo best suited to bring out the worst in your commenters. I sincerely wish you would do better and stop the race-baiting and feeding of hatred.

    • Anonymous says:

      I find what’s happened to the “industry” appalling, particularly in the woke US. You keep saying “racist comments”, why don’t you point them out?

      See, to me it’s racist to hire people based predominately on race (non-white) and solely for the DEI they bring to an organization. It’s reprehensible, in fact, in a field where there is so much talent and so little opportunity — for ALL.

      Stop the name calling here. You think I’m a racist, huh? Well let me tell you something, Eric. One of my best friends is black, and he thinks all this DEI stuff is a crock, too. Furthermore, I think the world of many black artists: Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin, Ray Charles, I could go on and on (and on).

      Since you feel so passionately, maybe you could tell the readers here what makes you feel that Ms. Loggins-Hull qualified for the role? Because her lack of work in the genre she’s been awarded a prestigious post to is — as the readers have already pointed out — shockingly lacking.

      What does racism mean to you?

  • John W. Norvis says:

    If Cleveland had appointed Eino-Pekka Ffliikkiflorkilainen to the post, there would be none of this knee-jerk venom spitting.

    • AnnaT says:

      this name is amazing and I am having a lot of fun imagining what Eino-Pekka Ffliikkiflorkilainen’s music would sound like. He was definitely at some point on a scientific council at IRCAM.

      • John W. Norvis says:

        It is a lowdown dirty shame that Nordic/Baltic men have such a hard time getting their works heard in our accursed PC/woke/affirmative action culture. /s

  • MS says:

    First off, congratulations to Allison Loggins-Hull on a well deserved appointment, and to the Cleveland Orchestra for choosing a spectacular composer as Lewis Composer Fellow.

    Second off, what the hell is wrong with the people that read this website? If a ran a forum that racists so clearly self-select as a congregating space, I would shut it down.

    Hats off who Anonymous, the leader of the pack of morons, who identifies this as a “DEI pick” and promptly states they “can’t speak to her work.” – Transparently presenting a world view where every Black person hired in an arts institution is apparently a “DEI pick” unworthy of the position.

    Bone says directly that ‘Blackness is not exactly the best quality for a composer.’ Fenway, who knows so little about the orchestra world they even misidentify the Cleveland Orchestra as “The CSO,” makes no evaluation of the composers work, but calls it an “affirmative action hire.”

    Matt, similarly, can’t spell Jessie Montgomery’s name, but is all too happy to reduce both Montgomery and Loggins-Hull to nothing but their gender and skin color.

    Let us be clear: Allison Loggins-Hull needs help from no one to deserve a position like this. She is one of the absolute finest composers working today.

    At the same time – If folks on this forum need a reason that representation is important they need only look in the mirror and their own disgusting selves.

  • Samach says:

    The problem isn’t race and gender, the problem is contemporary classical music.

    There are no standards in contemporary music, there are no rules, there is no good or bad, any sound counts (or absence of sound, ahem Cage).

    So in this aesthetic vaccuum, artistic wasteland, selection by race and gender is as legitimate as selection by height and weight.

  • Hercule says:

    Any word on what other candidates were considered?

    • Matt says:

      I assume this was a completely blind selection process where only musicians were involved. If this was like an orchestra audition they would have received hundreds of resumes for their Composer in Residence vacancy. Members of the Cleveland Orchestra and its conductors would have listened to each one multiple times in their copious free time with names and identifying information redacted for the entire process to ensure fairness. Management and the new DEI person would have never been involved at any stage of the process. In the end the most gifted, talented composer for large orchestra was chosen in a completely anonymous selection process.

  • Alphonse says:

    God help us all…