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BWAC S2E5- Weston Sprott - Applications of Antiracism in the Arts

Five months ago, I asked BWAC podcast guest Weston Sprott a question which then fascinated me but today returns with the urgency of a coming storm – “How can we apply antiracist principles to the world of classical music?”.  As the interview unfolds, Weston Sprott, Dean of the Juilliard Preparatory Division and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra trombonist, gives us a master class in all things leadership, DEIB and yes, gives a clarion clear pathway to apply some of the core ideas from Ibram Kendi’s “How to be Antiracist” to the music world. 

We also discuss how at Juilliard Prep work continues to make auditions “implicit bias proof”, how the concept of “mirrors and windows” is helping inform opportunity building alongside talented students who happen to also members of communities that are often forgotten. Ultimately these efforts all converge to answer the question: “Do our students have everything they need to be successful?”

There’s one section of this dialogue in particular which still leaves my mind and heart blown. When I asked Weston what he’s listening to, apart from operas and symphonies, he mentioned singer-songwriter Moses Sumney. He then quotes lyrics from Sumney’s song “Doom” which pretty much sums up the spirit of the whole dang episode: “Am I vital. If my heart is idle?”

If that doesn’t move you, I don’t know what will my friends! Enjoy this one.

Weston’s Recommendations:

Moses Sumney

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