The Historical Performance Institute of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music has been shaken to the core by the brutal murder of George Floyd—the most visible example in a horrific series of high-profile murders at the hands of law enforcement. This is but the tip of the iceberg when viewed against the bigger picture of centuries of institutionalized, societal oppression against black people and all marginalized communities.
These recent murders and the unanimity of subsequent national protest cause us to take an uncomfortable look at ourselves in the mirror, as well as the societal and institutional fault-lines that are now more vividly clear to the hidden and not-so-hidden complicities of white privilege.
As an institution:
- We affirm that it is not enough merely to condemn these recent and historical events of despicable brutality and oppression.
- We acknowledge that the Western-European historical biases of our field have developed within the mechanisms of systemic racism. They have presented a limited view of a far broader musical history while also ignoring historical factors of empire, colonialism, and exclusion that formed our discipline.
- We acknowledge that real change is required first within ourselves.
- We affirm that in order to change ourselves and create positive change equally for those around us, we must begin by remedying the systemic faults immediately within our own sphere of influence.
- We affirm that change should have been better in motion before the current crisis. Nevertheless, we must and will affirm a new commitment.
- Our online colloquium series this fall will emphasize early music by black and marginalized composers in western and non-western traditions, with insights relevant to historically informed performance practices. As these sessions will take place online, there are no geographical limitations imposed on the selection of our speakers.
- In departmental ensembles and chamber music in 2020-2021, we shall emphasize the music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Sainte-Georges (1745-1799).
- We shall continue to amplify the initiative taken up at the most recent HPI international conference of May 2019, to create space for discussion about promoting greater inclusivity and difference in our field. This conference is likely to be entirely online, October 16-18, 2020. Further details will be forthcoming.
Our true desire is to correct our own faults and failings as well as those of the systems within which we work together. We shall strive as a community devoted to a future where the backgrounds and dignity of all human beings are fully respected and honored.
We support #blacklivesmatter