March 1, 2021
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
“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
The full statement is available at www.southbendsymphony.org/EDI.
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.