“With its tuxedos, gowns and centuries-old repertoire, the orchestra is not an obvious platform for protest … But a group of classical musicians are trying to challenge this notion, placing their art squarely in the conversation over tensions between black communities and police across the U.S.” – WQXR, July 15, 2015, Brian Wise
The Dream Unfinished (TDU) is a New York-based activist orchestra, whose mission is to use classical music as a platform to engage audiences with issues related to social and racial justice. TDU’s programming includes presentations with educational and humanitarian organizations, intimate chamber concert and panel discussions, and large-scale events that curate orchestral works by composers of color alongside high-profile speakers.
Founded in 2014, TDU has staged over a dozen performances throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and has partnered with organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Black Women’s Blueprint, Justice League NYC, African American Policy Forum, and others. Through programming works by underrepresented composers of color and using the orchestra as a tool for social justice, audiences who would not generally identify as stakeholders consider their own potential for activism, and promotes greater awareness, and ultimately engagement, with the contemporary movement for Black lives. TDU’s 2015 season marked the one-year anniversary of Eric Garner’s passing. Its 2016 season, entitled Sing Her Name, focused on the inter-sectionality of prejudice experienced by women of color, and culminated on the one-year anniversary of Sandra Bland’s passing. TDU’s works also focus on the school to prison pipeline, solitary confinement, and gentrification.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Dream Unfinished