Harmony + Diversity = Hope

Apollo’s Fire’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Apollo’s Fire celebrates our core values of diversity and community engagement. We also recognize that celebration alone is insufficient for real change in the classical music world. We are actively working to build a more inclusive and equitable classical music scene. This fuels our innovation and connects us more deeply to our community.

In the performing arts, there is a unique opportunity to overcome historic and pervasive systems of inequity that may advantage some and disadvantage others in our communities. We are committed to seizing that opportunity and creating an artistic environment where ALL can love and appreciate our unique gifts together.

We recognize that classical music audiences have been overwhelmingly homogeneous. We seek to change this. When we look at the wonder and curiosity in the eyes of audiences in our Family Concerts, for example, we know that classical music is loved by people across identities and across our city.

What are we doing about it?

STEP 1: In 2017, Apollo’s Fire launched its innovative Community Access Initiative to reduce economic and geographic barriers to participation. The CAI has been very successful in bringing in new audiences, with over 3000 new attendees each year. The initiative includes $12 Presto Seats, available to people of all ages; Baroque Bistro concerts at popular restaurants; FREE interactive Family Concerts; FREE “Family Nights at AF,” where public school families attend an AF subscription concert as special guests; and FREE in-school workshops.
STEP 2: In January 2020, recognizing that modeling diversity on the stage can help foster diversity in the audience, AF launched Phase 2 of the CAI, called the MOSAIC Project. The MOSAIC Project focuses specifically on building diversity among AF’s musicians, staff and Board – in order to develop and nurture a more diverse audience and a diverse baroque community at large. The project uses a pipeline approach to build and support a new pool of diverse musicians in the next 5-10 years.
STEP 3: In 2021, Apollo’s Fire launched the innovative new SIDE BY SIDE Beginning Strings Program in partnership with the school district of Matteson, a South-side suburb of Chicago. This largely African American community has a strong emphasis on arts and education. The SIDE BY SIDE program is designed and led by Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell. Modeled on Vivaldi’s orchestra of orphan girls in 18th-century Italy, the program brings AF’s 7 teaching artists into 4 elementary schools throughout the week. AF’s senior teaching artist is in residence at Matteson’s charter high school, where he teaches string players every day. On Saturdays, children from the 4 elementary schools join with the high school string players to form the SIDE BY SIDE String Orchestra, with the teaching artists playing alongside the students.

Are you interested in helping Apollo’s Fire in our joyful pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion? We are seeking community members for our DEI committee in Cleveland and Chicago, and also national committee members. If you are interested, please contact Nichole Fehrman, DEI committee liaison, at nfehrman@apollosfire.org or 216-320-0012 x4.

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)

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