Sō Percussion, Inc. is examining how our organization can further our work within Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA), and advance antiracist efforts. We are programming a more diverse range of voices, commissioning flexible new works, and re-imagining educational programs. We are also convening and participating in advisory groups to learn more about how we can have a positive impact on our community, industry, and art form.
Here are the initiatives the organization is currently pursuing. Some are new, some represent a continuation of ongoing projects.
- Open Instrumentation commissioning project. Open instrumentation pieces in our lineage go back at least as far as Terry Riley’s In C. They provide for a flexible model of collaboration which removes barriers of access to performers and composers and which encourage bringing many voices into the room. This year, Sō Percussion is commissioning Darian Thomas, Bora Yoon, and Kendall Williams as part of our New Work Development program to write new pieces for open instrumentation which can be premiered remotely, but which we will also perform with various groups once live concerts have returned. These pieces will allow us to invite a diverse cohort of performers into the collaborative process with Sō Percussion.
- New interpretations by Sō Percussion of past works written by composers of underrepresented genders, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA identities. This includes a deep dive into the incredible work of Pauline Oliveros, our first Julius Eastman piece, and many other pieces by past and living composers.
- The formation of several new groups to advise the organization. This includes a panel of outside Inclusiveness Consultants who will advise Sō’s staff and board of directors. We have also begun participating in outside peer groups convened by other organizations.
- Re-examining the Sō Percussion Summer Institute. We are permanently removing application fees and exploring changing fixed tuition to a “pay what you can” model. In addition, we are planning to broaden the festival’s mission to embrace more practices and musical backgrounds beyond what SōSI has included in the past.
- Re-inventing the intern program. Sō’s intern program will soon be restructured as a compensated program. Interns will also participate in rotating programs of mentoring in both artistic and administrative areas. Sharing of studio space will resume once pandemic conditions subside.
- New partnerships with Black-lead organizations and musicians in our Brooklyn community. Coming out of the International Residency trip to Trinidad and Tobago for Panorama 2020, we are deepening relationships with steel bands in Brooklyn to find opportunities for collaboration and exchange. To begin with, Sō is providing service as a fiscal sponsor to non-profits who support the steel drum community.
- Revising organization’s mission statement. The organization’s mission statement will soon be updated to include language from this page.