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LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SCOTT HARRISON NAMED TO ADVISORY BOARD OF NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR AUDITION SUPPORT
Organization’s Long-Term Goal Is to Increase Diversity in American Orchestras Mirrors LACO’s Similar Efforts
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) Executive Director Scott Harrison, a passionate advocate for diversity in the arts, has been named to the Advisory Board of the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS). The organization’s long-term goal is to increase diversity in American orchestras, a mission that closely mirrors LACO’s Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship for top-tier string musicians from underrepresented communities, which addresses that lack of diversity. Harrison joins several other key industry leaders in an advisory capacity to develop a national, comprehensive approach to overcoming barriers.
“I am honored to serve on NAAS’ Advisory Board to help further its vital mission of transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts on a national level,” says Harrison. “Its customized array of support, including mentoring, audition preparation, financial support and audition previews aligns with the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, a partnership with LACO, Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and USC Thornton School of Music launched last fall.”
LACO’s Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship is the West Coast’s first comprehensive fellowship program for top-tier string musicians from underrepresented communities to address the lack of diversity within American orchestras, in which less than 5% of the workforce is African American, Hispanic or Native American. It is funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and AFM Local 47.
NAAS, also launched last year, was established by the League of American Orchestras, The Sphinx Organization, and New World Symphony to offer a holistic and personalized array of support to Black and Latinx musicians to develop audition skills, increase participation in auditions and, ultimately, increase representation in orchestras. It is supported by a four-year $1.8 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation along with additional financial and programmatic contributions from America’s orchestras.
Harrison, since joining LACO as Executive Director in 2015, continues to expand upon the Orchestra’s commitment to artistic and community impact through an unwavering commitment to transformative music-making, cultural conversation and partnership with organizations of shared values across Los Angeles. He has served on the diversity subcommittee of the LA County Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Task Force, Los Angeles’ nation-leading commitment to building a more inclusive and equitable arts and culture ecosystem. During his tenure, he has also strengthened relationships with the leading institutions across the region, including the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, USC Thornton School of Music, Glendale Arts, Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, Colburn School and Huntington Library. Harrison joined with board leadership to develop a strategic framework for impact across four pillars — concerts, accessibility and diversity, learning and creating, and innovation and entrepreneurship – that continues to foster a creative spirit of programming and decision-making within the organization while helping to grow the earned revenue base and philanthropic support. He has championed LACO world premieres or commissions by Ellen Reid, Sarah Gibson, Derrick Spiva Jr, Juan Pablo Contreras and Pierre Jalbert, among others, and helped oversee the search and appointment of the Orchestra’s sixth music director, Jaime Martín, who begins his tenure in the 2019-20 season.
Harrison came to LACO after serving as vice president of advancement and external relations at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, raising $18 million annually while developing strategies to build the DSO’s local and global reputation. Having previously worked for the Indianapolis, New Jersey, Boston and Dallas symphony orchestras, Harrison holds degrees in bassoon and political science from Northwestern University – where he was recently elected to the political science department’s Alumni Hall of Fame – and Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts. Deeply committed to music education as a right and a fervent believer in the power of cultural diplomacy, he serves as a founding board member of BLUME Haiti, an organization that works with Haitian and International partners to develop leadership skills in young musicians and create opportunities for social and civic change through music. In March 2017, he helped implement the inaugural National Orchestra Institute in Haiti alongside musicians from the Utah Symphony, which will now be held for the third time in March 2019. He also serves as a professional advisor to Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble and has lectured and presented for the League of American Orchestras, Arts Midwest, Tessitura Network, Association of California Symphony Orchestras, Wayne State University and Spanish Association of Symphony Orchestras. Harrison is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture, which brought together 50 arts executives from 34 states and 18 countries who are working to lead change in their organizations, communities and the global cultural field.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) ranks among the world’s top musical ensembles. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is known as a champion of contemporary composers, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, as well as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks. Headquartered in the heart of the country’s cultural capital, LACO has been proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s most unintimidating chamber music experience” (Los Angeles magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times) and “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras”(KUSC Classical FM). Performing throughout greater Los Angeles, the Orchestra presents orchestral, Baroque and chamber concerts, as well as salon evenings in private spaces and unique experiences that explore classical music’s cutting-edge sounds. LACO’s long history of educational outreach encompasses programs integral to its mission of nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music. Jaime Martín, praised as “a visionary conductor, discerning and meticulous” (Platea Magazine), is LACO’s Music Director Designate and takes the podium as Music Director in the 2019-20 season.
For more information on Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra visit www.laco.org.
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