Spotlight on Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

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Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Truth is of No Color: Concerts for Social Justice.


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is pleased to announce a series of free, streamed musical events dedicated to the fight for social justice entitled Truth is of No Color: Concerts for Social Justice.

For over a year, RPO staff, musicians and board members have been in thoughtful discussions on how the RPO is modeled as an institution, and functions in our community. The RPO takes great pride in creating and sharing music, and are intent on ensuring that their musical work serves everyone across this art-loving region. “Last June a group of RPO musicians conducted by Herb Smith performed at a Black Lives Matter rally at MLK, Jr. Park,” commented RPO President and CEO Curt Long. “Community response to that performance challenged us to think about how we could do more to support those in our community who are fighting for justice and against structural racism.”

Truth is of No Color: Concerts for Social Justice takes its name from the motto of The North Star, Frederick Douglass’ newspaper, which was published right here in Rochester from 1847 to 1859. “We were particularly struck by the motto of Frederick Douglass’ The North Star, which began “Right is of no Sex — Truth is of no Color,” in that composers use music to reveal and share universal truths,” said Long. “These concerts will be an opportunity for us to share the musical truths of composers of color who may not be familiar to Rochester audiences.”

Throughout history, music has been used as a way to promote awareness on social issues and encourage activism. Each event in the Truth is of No Color streaming series will feature music by composers of the past and present – many whose voices have been suppressed for hundreds of years, based on their sex, race, heritage, sexual orientation, and backgrounds. Each event will also highlight a local social justice organization whose vision aligns with the values of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.



Under the baton of Music Director Andreas Delfs, our 21-22 Season consists of composers and artists from all walks of life. We have also created a taskforce of musicians, staff, board, and community partners to continue the dialogue and discover ways to address systemic inequalities in our industry.

We encourage you to visit our blog as we share stories of Black composers from the late-1700s to the present. Some, like the Chevalier de Saint-Georges and George Bridgetower, may be familiar to many. Others like Juste Chanlatte may be relatively new to many. We celebrate all they’ve accomplished and highlight the racial and social injustice brought upon them. Truth Is of No Color is a free digital streaming series featuring Black composers past and present. We begin our series with a celebration of the life and legacy of Rochester’s own Frederick Douglass, with works by Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simon – two contemporary composers who bring a poignant and compelling focus at the intersection of art and social justice. Brought to you in partnership with Frederick Douglass Family Initiative, this program is FREE to the public, available to stream anytime, anywhere, at your convenience.

Black Lives Matter. Period. The words shouldn’t be reiterated only when yet another Black body is victimized by an oppressive power that has sworn to protect them from harm. We are determined to celebrate Black lives, Black artists, and Black art – all day, every day, beyond the month of February.

The City renowned as the home of Frederick Douglass must live up to his legacy. Let us do that – hand in hand – to create a more equitable society for those with us and who come after us.

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