Diversity Actions

Since taking the first important step in 2016 of formalizing our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access by creating a Diversity Council, the BPO has implemented the following Key Actions:
Summer 2016

BPO Board approves and signs onto Mayor Brown’s Opportunity Pledge.

BPO creates five Diversity Council Mission Goals with the support and guidance of the council members.

2016-17 Season 

Diversity Council begins work with annual engagement project in East Side churches for MLK Day and hosts a reception to engage community leaders.

BPO participates in the inaugural Sphinx Orchestral Partners Auditions (SOPA), continuing annual participation each year since.

2017-18 Season

Staff begins participation in convenings for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in New York Orchestras and Classical Music via New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA).

Diversity Council hosts first annual Opening Doors fundraiser and expands annual engagement project to Spanish-speaking churches on West Side.

2018-19 Season

BPO implements anti-racism training for staff, orchestra musicians, ushers and Diversity Council through New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA).

BPO creates new artistic position of Community Engagement Conductor and hires Jaman E. Dunn to fill this role.

2019-20 Season

Board, staff and musicians engage in Town Hall discussions which result in the creation of guiding principles to increase inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) at the BPO.

2020-21 Season

BPO begins participation in the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), contributing to annual funding for musicians of color taking orchestral auditions and substitute work.

Board members receive anti-racism training through CFGB/EC Inclusive Culturals Grant in alignment with the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable.

The BPO forms an internal IDEA Task Force to create shared language and examine policies and practices with a racial equity lens. Members receive ongoing racial equity training from Race Matters Institute.

2021-22 Season

A partnership with the Institute for Composer Diversity begins, with support from the Sphinx Venture Fund.

The BPO Board of Trustees adopts a three-year IDEA Action Plan and implements Year One of the plan. This focused plan aligns with and expands on the BPO Strategic Plan, also adopted in 2022, which includes a core theme of IDEA.

2022-23 Season

New Composer Diversity Fellow Fernanda Lastra is hired for a two-year term. This fellowship provides invaluable training and professional experience for underrepresented conductors.

The BPO forms an Accessibility/Disability Awareness Committee with guidance from the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities to improve accessibility at the BPO and Kleinhans Music Hall.

The Diversity Council announces the creation of the BPO Diversity Council IDEA Award to recognize individuals and organizations in the local community who embody the IDEA principles while promoting, supporting or practicing music.

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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.

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Our Goals

Our goals reflect our commitment to present diverse programming, to support artists of color, and to engage with every part of the Western New York community in a meaningful way.

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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.