University of Cincinnati Program Aims to Increase Diversity in America’s Orchestras

cincinnatiThe University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra have announced the first cohort of Diversity Fellows. The fellows program, made possible by a $900,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to increase diversity in America’s leading orchestras. Only 4 percent of the members of America’s professional orchestra musicians are Black or Latino, according to the League of American Orchestras.

More than 100 musicians auditioned to become fellows. The five fellows were then selected from a group of 12 finalists. The fellows will participate in a two-year program where they will be taught by faculty at the University of Cincinnati, be mentored by musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and participate in performances by the orchestra. Each fellow will pay no tuition and receive a $10,000 annual stipend from the university. They will perform in five concerts and receive an additional $8,000 from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Peter Landgren, dean of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, stated that “we have selected a cohort of astonishingly talented musicians. Working in close cooperation with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, we will prepare these Fellows for long and fruitful artistic careers, while challenging the status quo in our industry.”

Among the five fellows are two African Americans.

BAJohnsonBlake-Anthony Johnson is a native of Atlanta. He began play cello at the age of 12 and was self-taught until the age of 18. Johnson is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville and received a master’s degree through study with musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has also studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Maurice Todd is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently a bassist for the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. Todd holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. As a graduate assistant at the university, Todd received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati.

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Alcorn State University Recruited for Federal Student Pathway Program for Careers in Public Service

The Pathway Public Service Program was established in 2019 to develop the next generation of diverse, qualified, and motivated public health servants. Over the past five years, the program has hired over 100 student interns.

Five Black Scholars Selected for New Faculty Positions

The five Black scholars who aer taking on new roles are Khadene Harris at Rice University in Houston, Nakia Melecio at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Bettina Drake at Washington University in St. Louis, Arlette Ngoubene Atioky at Goucher College in Maryland, and Kandi Hill-Clarke at the University of Memphis.

Getty Images to Preserve Digital Photo Archives at Delaware State University

Currently, Delaware State University's photo archives contain thousands of photographs taken over the course of the university's 133 year history. Thanks to a new partnership with Getty Images, those images will be digitized and made available on

Porché Spence Recognized for Outstanding Commitment to Advancing Diversity in Ecology

Dr. Spence currently serves as an assistant professor of environmental studies at North Carolina A&T State University. Throughout her career, she has developed several educational programs geared towards introducing students of color to environmental science fields.

Featured Jobs