Diversity Goals

The BPO, with the guidance of the Diversity Council, commits to the following specific goals to promote Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access:
  1. To feature artists of color (soloists, conductors, composers) annually in our concert offerings whether it be Classics, Pops, Family, Rock, Education and/or Community Engagement concerts.
  2. To create programs tied to community events and history that are relevant to diverse audiences, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Hispanic Heritage Month.
  3. To establish partnerships with diverse organizations and colleagues and collaborate with them on programs relevant to our community.
  4. To support music education in underserved areas and encourage broad participation in music programs.
  5. To seek diversity at all levels of the organization including board, staff, volunteers and the orchestra itself.

Fostering an Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, and Accessible environment where music is the right of every Individual across generations, cultures, genders, and socio-economic classes

23-24 Featured Programs

  • John Williams’ Movie Music Pops opening, conducted by Enrico Lopez-Yañez (Sep 29-30) 


  • Music for Youth Concerts with conductor Fernanda Lastra feature works by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, Julian Aguirre, Milad Yousufi and others, presented to Buffalo Public School students in grades 1-6
  • Incredible violinist Tianwa Yang is featured on a Spanish-inspired program (Oct 6-7) 
  • Conductor Fernanda Lastra leads a concert featuring the “Queen of Mariachi” Aida Cuevas, preceded by Festival Encanto Hispano at Kleinhans (Oct 14) 
  • Conductor Julius Williams leads a program including Edmund Jenkins’ Rhapsodic Overture (Oct 21-22) 
  • A Gospel Symphony Celebration conducted by Dr. Henry Panion III features vocalist Donald Lawrence and the Buffalo United Community Choir (Oct 27) 


  • Conductor Fernanda Lastra leads a Pops/Rock concert featuring the music of Neil Diamond (Nov 18) 
  • Annual holiday concert at Mary’s School for the Deaf (Nov 21)


  • Exceptional Holiday Concerts presented for listeners with special needs (Nov 28 & Dec 13)
  • Family concert Jingle Bell Jam conducted by Fernanda Lastra (Dec 10)


  • Pianist Ying Li is featured in a performance also including Jimmy López Bellido’s Symphony No. 3 (Jan 12-13) 
  • Annual East Side church collaborations in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Let’s Groove Tonight: Motown and the Philly Sound features the incomparable Byron Stripling and vocalists Chester Gregory, Ashley Jayy and Brik Liam (Jan 20) 
  • Composer Michael Abels’ Delights and Dances is featured on a program also including a world premiere (Jan 27-28) 


  • A project started by the BPO Diversity Council, the Buffalo United Community Choir under the direction of Ella Robinson, George Brown, and Karen Saxon perform a concert called Buffalo United for Black History (TBD)


  • Buffalo World Connection for Buffalo Public Schools features the Sphinx Competition Winner, cellist Brandon Leonard (Mar 6)
  • First Ladies of Song, featuring Carmen Bradford on vocals, celebrates music of the greats Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and Sarah Vaughan, conducted by Fernanda Lastra (Mar 9) 
  • Violinist Melissa White performs Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (Mar 15-16) 


  • Lumina, a piece by composer Nina Shekhar, is featured on a celestial-themed program (Apr 5-6) 
  • Pianist Stewart Goodyear solos in a program including a composition by Vivian Fung (Apr 20-21) 
  • Family concert BPO Kids Sing! features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda with traditional and contemporary Spanish language sing-alongs, conducted by Fernanda Lastra (Apr 14)


May & June
  • Talented violinist brothers Timothy Chooi and Nikki Chooi perform together on a program including Dos Piezas by Roberto Sierra (May 3-4) 
  • Side by Side, featuring students of Buffalo Public Schools’ Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, is conducted by Fernanda Lastra (May 7)
  • Violinist Nikki Chooi performs Sibelius, and vocalists including Lester Lynch perform Beethoven’s Ninth (May 11-12) 
  • The BPO Diversity Council’s annual fundraiser, Opening Doors, raises awareness and funds for IDEA initiatives at the BPO (June 21)
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Our Commitment

We believe that access to the power of music is the right of every individual. Music is a unifier. Its deep and compelling impact moves across generations, cultures, genders and socio-economic classes.


Our Actions

We aim to align our actions with our goals and track our intentional progress towards a more inclusive organization.

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BPO Diversity Council

Formed in 2016, the BPO Diversity Council is comprised of community leaders, BPO staff, and musicians, and helps the BPO foster greater inclusion, diversity, equity and access within the organization and the classical music world.