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The Black Women Defying The Odds & Finding Success In Classical Music

When I was seven years old, I faced one of the toughest decisions of my life: become a Brownie in the Girl Guides or continue with my piano lessons.

After much deliberation, I opted for the Brownie life and its promise of excitement, adventure and newness. Where could piano take me anyway? Not very far if you’re Black and a woman.

In the top 40 orchestras globally, women make up less than 40% of members, are almost completely missing from several instrument sections like percussion and brass, and are five times less likely to be section leaders.

Things are even bleaker when it comes to ethnic diversity: only 1.6% of UK orchestra members come from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.