Seeking ‘Social Equity in Classical Music,’ ASO Names Artistic Advisor

Dr. Lester Green has worked with the U.S. Air Force Strings and conducted operas in Washington and Baltimore

Dr. Lester Green (Photo courtesy Alexandria Symphony Orchestra)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has created a new position: Artistic Advisor. To fill that role, they selected Dr. Lester Green, who teaches voice as part of the music faculty at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Green’s hiring in October speaks to the ASO’s commitment to social equality established with a strategic plan last year.

“As the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra continues to open doors to adventurous music-making, we are thrilled to have Lester join us in this exciting and important work,” said ASO Board President Melynda Wilcox. “The ASO aims to take a leadership role in advancing the cause of social and racial equity in classical music.”

Green joins the ASO with extensive experience. For 10 years, he served the Music Ministry of the historic Metropolitan AME Church of Washington, DC. He has also served as the artistic director for the Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts and worked with the Children’s Chorus of Washington.

“Lester Green is a deeply inventive thinker and performer whose breadth of ideas will provide a new source of vital impetus for the ASO in these times when classical music is expanding the canon and looking for ways to dismantle its role in systemic racism,” ASO Music Director James Ross said.

A conductor for operas performed in D.C and Baltimore, he keeps a voice studio at Morgan State University. His knowledge of opera has made him a nationally and internationally known figure. Green had the distinct honor of producing a concert with the U.S. Air Force Stings. The concert highlighted the work of black composers, such as Margaret Bonds. “Dream Portraits,” a collection of her pieces heard during the performance, is based on the poems of Langston Hughes.

Green earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano Performance from the University of Maryland College Park in 2005, his Graduate Performance Diploma in Piano in 1999, and his Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory in 1997.

“Lester is a tremendous addition to the ASO artistic and creative team,” said ASO Executive Director George Hanson. “He will help ASO connect with diverse new projects, artists, composers and particularly vocalists. He will expand our collaborative reach within the community.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. “The ASO aims to take a leadership role in advancing the cause of social and racial equity in classical music.” That phrase is jargon. What does that even mean? Is this some sort of quota system policy for performances or performers? Will composers be subject to an ideological purity test before being selection for inclusion? Why not just take a lead in advancing good music?

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