How the Chicago Sinfonietta put inclusion in its DNA“>More than 35 percent of the Sinfonietta is staffed by musicians of color, and over 45 percent of those are women, according to the organization. Similarly, the Sinfonietta audience on average is 46 percent people of color – specifically 37 percent African American, 5 percent Latino and 4 percent Asian. As for who runs the orchestra: 58 percent of the board, 73 percent of the associate board and 36 percent of the staff are people of color.

Chicago Sinfonietta CEO Blake-Anthony Johnson.
Chicago Sinfonietta CEO Blake-Anthony Johnson. (Gary Barragan)
And on May 15, Blake-Anthony Johnson became the Sinfonietta’s new chief executive officer, making him the only African American to lead what the Sinfonietta calls a “national orchestra” (in that it tours nationally and commands a coast-to-coast reputation).

Diversity “is so much in the DNA of the organization,” says Johnson, 30, a cellist who has performed with orchestras and as soloist around the world. “I think people really look to the Chicago Sinfonietta to be the leader, not just here in Chicago, but nationally.”

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