Why is most (Classical) Music Dominated by White Men?
It doesn’t make any sense.
All of my favorite composers are white guys:
Wagner, Prokofiev, Janáček, Ravel, Sibelius, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Lalo, Borodin, Bruckner, Beethoven, Bizet, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Britten, Satie, Chopin, Fauré, Debussy, Saint-Saens, Messiaen, Lully. Bach! Mozart!
I can keep going. I can go for days, weeks, years, DECADES. Anybody who is anybody in classical music is a white guy, Just ask all the white guys!
If they aren’t white guys, they’re Nadia Boulanger and Sofia Gubaidulina. Florence Price! Ethyl Smith seems HOT. Meredith Monk is dope. Read the whole article to see about Wendy Carlos’s synthesizer Bach. Cécile Chaminade wrote flooty tunes.
I still think I like all the white guys the best. I think it’s only because I’ve been conditioned to think so. I know it is.
My whole education was about how amazing white guys are. I took my dad to see the movie “Joy” on Christmas day, when it came out in 2015. He left the theater, turned to me with a huge smile on his face, let out a hearty laugh and said “I can’t believe I spent almost three hours watching a movie about some lady who invented a mop”.
Cool story, bro.
Imagine what its like to listen to nothing but “stories about ladies with mops”, all day, every day, forever and ever amen. No reprieve. Imagine never seeing yourself portrayed as the protagonist of any story, except for a movie about “some lady who invented a mop”.
The problem with diversity in the arts, is that there are exponential obstacles for non-white/male participants. The more non-white/male you are, the more obstacles you have. The farther you push, the more obstacles you have. Not only are non-white/males not being given opportunity at the same rate, they just aren’t being listened to at all. They aren’t seen with the same eyes, with the same perspective.
Everything non-white male has a “ooooooo, this is non-white/male art” filter on it. Sometimes it helps! But mostly, it labels the non-white male as other.
Art is not limited to the identity of it’s creator. It should speak for itself, separate from its creator. To weigh an artist down with the expectation that their whole life is somehow tied to everything they do is crippling. To force a connection between who the artist is, and what the artist creates is nonconsensual.
So why does it matter that they’re white?
It doesn’t at all. That, is exactly what we’re getting at here. (I guess I’m stepping in and speaking for all non-white/males) It DOESN’T MATTER THAT YOU’RE WHITE, MALE OR BOTH, or either or, or none.
It only matters that white males are the only ones being listened to. It only matters when you allow yourself to instinctively and reflexively assume that the white guys did it the best. It only matters when you find yourself unable to name a single female artist who’s work changed your perspective. It only matters when you cannot name a single composer, or name a single author, or a name a single painter, artist, graphic designer, or producer that is non-white/male.
Especially if, dun dun dunnnn….
YOU ARE NOT A WHITE GUY! If you’re not a white guy and you don’t know any non-white/male artists, what the fuck is even happening right now!?!?!!
What are you missing, by avoiding these perspectives? Like it or not, creativity is not something that can be bought, sold, crafted, curated or magically generated by money, time or gender. It’s pretty randomly assigned. By some sort of higher power. Some call it God, I call it lottery.
Women are not magically, hormonally superior at anything. Neither are men.
–Hah! When you say it the other way around, people get SO PISSED OFF. Isn’t this way nicer?
There is no real way to determine how or why any artist exists, or why their work is so fantastic. Nobody’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or family background influences their talent, only their access to opportunity. Rich, white men have always had access to the best opportunities with the most support. It’s time to share the wealth.
I don’t really have a suggestion for stopping this, besides supporting your local artists. All these videos I’m about to share are of non-white/male musicians who are incredible, but they aren’t really the ones that need support. Go to local shows!
As for classical music, it cannot be saved. In the USA at least, it’s funded entirely off of the donations of republican greed-mongers. Fueled by contempt, powered by pretentiousness. I suspect that education is the key, but it will take a major, drastic overhaul of our culture in order to achieve this.
Who am I, but some bitter angry non-male.
Meredith Monk: Vessel Suite
Florence Price Symphony No.1 in E minor
The Gubaidulina is great for sinner
There are countless more. Too many to list.
I can’t believe you made it all the way to the end of this post by some they/them blabbing about chick-shit.