Cacophony's "Open Letter to Chicago's New & Experimental Community"

A local magazine finds a lack of diversity in Chicago's new music scene.


Lia Kohl and Bethany Younge, editors of Cacophony, the local online journal dedicated to contemporary music making and performance, have posted "An Open Letter to Chicago's New & Experimental Community" - a plea for more inclusive programming and coverage within the new and experimental music scene in the city. Presenting data culled over the last year via the magazine, as well as local new music presenters and ensembles, the editors write:

The lack of representation of people of color in this alarming, unhealthy, and needs to be addressed. There is no shortage of talented artists of color in this city. There are barriers to entry to this scene, often starting with the economic oppression of poc, including the privilege required to receive an ‘establishment’ music education. But even after education and training, there are still barriers (look at the data!), and it’s worth examining how we are contributing to those barriers.

This August at the Summer Courses for New Music Darmstadt*, a wonderful group of women, trans folk and allies put together a panel on gender relations in the history of the courses. They started with this data, and the numbers are appalling**. During the panel, our friend Neele Huelcker read a statement which spoke, among many things, to the passivity from which so many of our prejudices come: who are our friends? Who do we consider our colleagues? Do we choose these associations, or do they just happen to us, based on our encounters with people who share similar schooling, socio-economic background, political goals?

How do we choose a community?
Let’s choose more intentionally.

Read the full letter, and view all the data, at Cacophony.

"An Open Letter to Chicago's New & Experimental Community" by Bethany Younge and Lia Kohl, excerpted from Cacophony:

CACOPHONY is a Chicago based magazine dedicated to the advocation of contemporary music making and performance. We strive to provide an outlet and platform for artists involved in various genres, backgrounds, and experiences throughout Chicago to further unite those interested in highly creative and demanding music and performance work. Our concert reviews, interviews, and essays serve to foster a healthy and constructive critique for community members to regularly engage with and aid artists in their personal growth, as well as reach out to a larger community of audiences. 


Data Graph and Photo via Cacophony

Published by Chicago Artists... on Wed, 01/18/2017 - 4:40pm
Updated on Wed, 01/18/2017 - 6:15pm