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Resisting the Eurocentric Paradigm: Activist Classical Music Groups Effect Change

The Dream Unfinished is one of numerous grassroots, activist orchestras that have emerged in recent years across the country. Their existence is a form of resistance against mainstream classical institutions that have been slow to change and diversify.

The concert, organized by arts administrator and clarinetist, Eun Lee, was a direct response to the killing of Eric Garner at the hands of New York police. Held at Centennial Memorial Temple in New York, the performance featured music by activist composer Leonard Bernstein and William Grant Still, considered the “dean” of African American composers, and speeches by activists including Garner’s daughter, Erica. Proceeds from ticket sales went to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Justice League NYC, and the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice.