You may not have ever seen the New York Philharmonic or the Metropolitan Opera, but you can see some of their musicians perform live, as the brand new International Pride Orchestra debuts Thursday with an all-star cast of all LGBTQ+ musicians in an event hosted by Peaches Christ.
In an arts and entertainment segment airing today on KGO news, Albuquerque-based professional symphonic tuba player Sean Kennedy makes an interesting observation about the classical music scene. "In this profession, you would think that there's a lot more queer people, a lot more queer representation within orchestras, but there really isn't," he told the station. (And the movie Tár may not have helped?)
But that queer representation will be loud and proud on Thursday night at the SF Conservatory of Music’s Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, as the KGO segment in question is about the 78-member, all LGBTQ+ International Pride Orchestra, whose musicians hail from other esteemed organizations like the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera.
While these are accomplished classical musicians, they had not even rehearsed together until Monday. But you can hear bits in the segment above showing that it’s certainly starting to gel. "We have four days to put this all together," International Pride Orchestra founder and director Michael Roest told KGO. "It is a rigorous, intensive schedule."
Peaches Christ will be hosting, with opera singer Breanna Sinclairé as a featured soloist. According to a Conservatory of Music press release, the program beings with the world premiere of the commission "Loud" by composer Jimmy López Bellido, and also features familiar works like Bernstein’s "Somewhere" from West Side Story, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36.
Proceeds will go to the SF-based LYRIC Center, described as “one of the first and largest LGBTQQ youth centers in the United States.”
"Being able to help those kids in some way is actually really important to me," the tuba player Kennedy told KGO.
While Thursday night’s performance is a one-night-only engagement for Pride Weekend, KGO reports that the International Pride Orchestra hopes to stage additional concerts in other cities.
Image: SF Conservatory of Music