March 1, 2021

Immediate Release

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors voted unanimously on Thursday to

adopt an official statement and plan of action to address equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) as

proposed by the Symphony’s EDI Committee. Formed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder,

the committee of Board and community members have been working on an official statement

and set of initiatives since August 2020.


“The statement and strategic plan addressing EDI work is a landmark for our organization,” said

John Axelberg, Board President. “The documents pave the way for strengthening the Orchestra

and the Board and therefore our ability to serve our community.”


The statement focuses on the greater representation of African diaspora composers across the

Symphony’s seasons, reassessed hiring and recruitment practices across the organization, and

partnerships with organizations already leading this work.


“I feel so privileged and honored to be a part of an organization that is working to create positive

change in its community. There is great music by Black composers out there that that we’ve

never played, and I cannot wait to hear our musicians performing it,” wrote Music Director

Alastair Willis.


“I’ve been in South Bend for 13 years, and apart from the MLK Day Celebration concert which

we started my first year as Dean of the Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South

Bend change has been slow,” wrote Dr. Marvin Curtis, who chairs the Symphony’s EDI

Committee. “But it’s a new day. The murder of George Floyd created a moment, and I wish we

could have gotten here under different circumstances, but I’m not going to let this moment pass

us by.”

The full statement is available at


About the South Bend Symphony Orchestra

Embarking on the 89th season, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is the region’s only

professional orchestra and is committed to engaging the community in all it does. In addition to being

recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and other state and local arts funding

organizations, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is the recipient of the Community Foundation of

St. Joseph County’s 2019 Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence, which recognizes the best-run

nonprofit organization in St. Joseph County, Indiana.