English National Opera is expanding its drive to recruit more diverse talent, with a pledge to appoint five new string players from minority ethnic backgrounds to its orchestra.
The company acknowledged the under-representation of talent from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in the opera and classical musical industry, and reaffirmed its ambition to make its opportunities more inclusive.
As part of this, five new string players from minority ethnic backgrounds will join ENO’s orchestra from the start of the 2020/21 season for a 12-month fixed-term contract.
Last year, four new chorus singers from BAME backgrounds joined the company, and it also launched a director-shadowing scheme to give opportunities for directors form a diverse range of backgrounds to work alongside its opera directors and observe a production process from start to finish.
ENO chief executive Stuart Murphy described the latest scheme as a “vital step” in helping to make the opera industry more inclusive.
ENO music director Martyn Brabbins added: “Here at ENO we are committed to contributing to the development of a more diverse classical music industry.
“We strongly believe by introducing the ENO orchestra fellowship for BAME string players we will make an important and much needed difference to the opera industry, and further our belief that opera should be open to everybody.”
In addition to improving the ethnic diversity of the artists and creatives it employs, ENO has also pledged to foster a better gender balance among its workforce in future.
As part of an industry-wide pledge – which has seen more than 200 music organisations promise gender parity – ENO has said it is aiming to achieve a 50/50 male-female balance among composers when commissioning new works by 2022.