Almanac

There’s a lot happening in Tacoma.

Music, visual arts, literature, printmaking, performing arts, public art, treasure hunting, found object-finding,

and more. The Almanac brings them all together as a weekly digital publication.

Umi’s Corner Tacoma: ORCHESTRATING CHANGE Aeroplane Icon
Umi Wagoner
May 18, 2023
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NW SINFONIETTA

The Northwest Sinfonietta is the premier chamber orchestra in the Puget Sound and has been blazed a trail that helps them lead the charge in a way most wouldn’t expect. It began in 1991 and has received international nods for not only high level performance but also unique community efforts to be inclusive. It’s a mission they continue to make their main focus, partnering with local arts community advocates and businesses to evolve their audience. It’s not a secret that the world of classical music is still very White and a lot of that has to do with enough exposure to the art form for it resonate not only with the ears but the feelings and cultures of other backgrounds, races and ethnicities. Traditionally the areas, venues, composers and even orchestra members are predominantly White, but that isn’t to say that people from other backgrounds haven’t contributed to the art form since it’s beginnings. But like many other arts their contributions have been hidden, forgotten or undocumented altogether. NW Sinfonietta is doing the work to rediscover, uncover and introduce works from composers and musicians of other races and places. The Artistic Partner model they adopted in 2015 is keeping a rotation of different ethnic backgrounds involved, at the selection of the NW Sinfonietta, and allowing more input for the musicians themselves. Karen Choo is a large part of why the connections are being made here in Tacoma for discovery and changing of the old guard. She helped to onboard Tacoma artist and arts advocate Neon Dion with the help of Spaceworks Tacoma. Their work together on the NW Sinfonietta’s premiere of Grammy nominated Black composer Carlos Simon’s Graffiti saw the Pantages theater lobby and seats filled by a very diverse and excited audience. That was a win in the right direction for the NW Sinfonietta and they plan to double down on their results. They recently began collaborative work with Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, T.U.P.A.C. is a Black lead ballet group. In addition, the NW Sinfonietta have been offering discount codes to their performances sometimes making tickets as low as $10, as well as, connecting with small businesses to do ticket giveaways. In Tacoma, the NW Sinfonietta wants to remove the invisible barrier to entry for spaces like the Rialto and Pantages Theater where many non-whites have felt as though the space is not for them and does not cater to their culture or community identity in any way. We recommend keeping your eye on their website for what’s next to come but if they keep making the right connections and pushing for change the chances are you won’t have to go looking for it anymore.


Tickets for This Land f/ T.UP.A.C. May 20th & 21st

nwsinfonietta.org

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253-383-5344

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