I posted an item the other day noting that Bay Area jazz musician-educator Ellen Seeling takes issue with the way Wynton Marsalis handles auditions for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The details are below.
More importantly, Seeling has set a rally calling for blind auditions for that esteemed ensemble. The event is set for 5 p.m. March 22 in front of the SFJAZZ Center, Franklin and Fell in San Francisco. Marsalis and the orchestra perform at SFJAZZ March 20-23.
Wynton does not hold auditions for the band, and there has never been a permanent woman member of the group since its founding in 1988! We want fair and equal access for women in jazz. When blind auditions (behind a screen without knowing name or gender) were instituted in the 1970s by American orchestras, there occurred a 30%-55% increase in the proportion of females among new hires, and a 25% to 46% increase in the percentage females in the orchestras since 1970.
So why won't Wynton audition women? His players earn $100,000 a year — shouldn't women get a equal shot at making this kind of money? Is it OK to exclude women if the organization takes tax money? We want equal access for women through blind auditions for Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra!
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