Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Orchestra’

Associate conductor Roderick Cox and the Minnesota Orchestra during rehearsal. Photo from the conductor’s collection.

There are not many African American conductors. Not yet. In Boston, we know Isaiah Jackson, whose distinguished career included a stint with the Boston Pops in the 1990s. But black conductors have remained scarce.

Now there is Roderick Cox at the Minnesota Orchestra. John Mancini writes about him at NBC News.

“Growing up, the sound of music was a constant in the Cox household. As a boy, Roderick Cox joined his mother and brother in their Macon, Georgia, gospel choir. At home he would put on his own concerts in his room — with the help of his action figures. …

“Cox began his musical journey at Northwestern University, where he studied conducting under the tutelage of famed Russian Conductor Victor Yampolsky. It was actually Yampolsky who planted the seed in the young musician’s mind.

“ ‘Yampolsky, who was very charismatic to me, told me “You should be a conductor.” At first – I laughed at him. But after he reiterated that, it started to become a reality for me,’ says Cox. …

“Cox is just one of a handful of African-American orchestra conductors in the world — and at age 30, certainly one of the youngest. Even with his undeniable talent, the road hasn’t been easy.

“ ‘You’re clawing yourself through the profession. I always say you can’t want to be a conductor you have to need to be a conductor,’ he says.

“It’s having that attitude that helps you withstand, ‘hundreds of rejections and people, organizations telling you that you’re not good enough,’ says Cox. …

“Black folks have been largely left out of classical music. Cox said he felt inspired to do his part to change that and is working hard to break down the barriers that exist between different kinds of people from different walks of life. …

“ ‘I think it’s important for people of different races and backgrounds to see themselves represented onstage.’ ”

More at NBC, here.

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