EDI Statement

IPO Statement of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

We, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), believe that diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices create, sustain, and build strong organizations. We endeavor to model inclusion and equity in all areas of our organization including programming, employment, and audience engagement.  By so doing, we will holistically increase the diversity of our orchestra, and by treasuring the experiences and ideas of each person, we deepen our collective creative perspectives.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion work will transform IPO into an increasingly vibrant organization reflective of our community and embraced by multiple factions of our society. Our Vision involves meaningful partnership with those who may not have felt welcomed by the orchestra of the past, and collective embrace of the myriad artistic voices who have contributed to the field of classical music. This Vision for greater opportunity necessitates motivation towards equity, diversity, and inclusion.

For IPO, diversity refers to various aspects of identity, including, but not limited to, racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, socioeconomic status, and faith identities. We recognize that all individuals identify with multiple diversity points and we embrace and value that intersectionality. We seek to understand how money, power, and influence have resulted in the marginalization and oppression of many groups in society, and including classical music institutions.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra recognizes that we are not immune from historical decision making that may have reinforced social inequalities. Today we take a step towards recognizing these decisions and intentionally working towards utilizing our EDI learnings and work to guide future decision making. Our hope is to shift the dynamic back to that of inclusion and equity. With humility and understanding, we can achieve this.

IPO Commitment to Learning and Sharing:

  • We commit to taking the time and effort needed to deepen our understanding of the broad societal inequities that exist and the varied mechanisms fueling their continuation.
  • We recognize that our own organization’s history and choices have not been immune from contributing to inequities. We will work towards greater realization of IPO’s context within these realities.
  • We commit to a process of transformation and growth with empathy, curiosity, and compassion. We believe this work is nuanced and individuals often reside at different points on the continuum of shared understanding. Together, we will work towards not allowing the difficulty of the work, nor complacency, to overtake our desire to elicit real change.

IPO Commitment to Action:

  • We will use music as one vehicle to inspire and heal.
  • We acknowledge that the symphony orchestra tradition is long overdue for a redress of its practices in hiring. We plan to make every effort to enrich our orchestra by taking this opportunity to employ BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and LGTBQ+ individuals to our staff and stage.
  • Equally, we acknowledge that our success in realizing our Vision necessitates a more diverse and representative volunteer leadership team. We will actively seek to build equitable and inclusive practices as one way to attract and retain diverse and historically underrepresented voices to IPO.
  • We recognize that orchestral programming has often been limited to historical Western European composers. We will program works written by BIPOC composers and of different backgrounds from all points in musical history. These works will be performed alongside our traditional concert literature.
  • IPO understands the importance of recognizing its origins in the community of Park Forest, IL and the surrounding communities. We will focus on building ongoing, meaningful relationships with the vibrant communities of the Chicago Southland.
  • IPO acknowledges that our offices and performance spaces are on the traditional land of Indigenous peoples. We will work towards greater understanding of the origins of these lands in an effort to show respect and as a step towards correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and towards inviting and honoring the truth.

    IPO believes that artistic strength is achieved through inclusion. Only then can we fully realize our potential towards community connectiveness, authentic expression, and sustainable growth.