Nashville’s Black Symphony gears up for its first performance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The new Nashville Symphony is on a mission to change the course of classical music.

“When you go to see symphonies across America, you might only see one or two black people in that symphony, but to see a full black WIND symphony, that performance is especially important for young people,” said said percussionist Torrance Buntyn Jr.

Historically, classical music has not always been inclusive or diverse. A 2016 study by the League of American Orchestras found that non-white musicians made up less than 15% of the orchestra population.

“Black people, we always have to give 200% just to receive what we normally receive,” he said.

But the music is pushing a new wave of artists to question what classical music looked like in the past.

Bruce Ayers is the musical director and founder of the Nashville African American Wind Symphony.

He has been leading the ensemble since September last year. Each rehearsal led to their first performance on Sunday.

Symphony Orchestra member Johnny Croft said he never imagined something like this would happen in Nashville.

“You know the cultural history here, but like I said, if you want to be part of the change, you have to create this space for yourself,” he said.

The Nashville African American Wind Symphony’s first concert will take place Sunday at 4 p.m. on the Belmont campus. Tickets are still available.

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