The New York Philharmonic recently performed a world premiere of a piece by a new composer, Grace Moore – a Brooklyn 7th grader who is just 12 years old. Moore composed the piece for the world-renowned symphony orchestra as part of it's Very Young Composers program, which teaches children how to create music.
Philharmonic President Deborah Borda says the Very Young Performers program is part of a mission to expose classical music to new audiences and creators. "It is critical that symphony orchestras, which frankly have been seen as a sort of elite bastion, and very White bastion, that we begin to live in the 21st century, that we invite in people of color of all different kinds," Borda told CBS Newspath's Nancy Chen.
Moore said she's a composer that could attract a different audience. "I haven't really seen many people who look like me on stage," she told Chen.
"She was very excited about the fact that she could represent as a Black female composer and also such a young person," Moore's mom, Clara Stewart Moore, said.
The New York Philharmonic is diversifying in other ways this year, too. Since the orchestra can't perform inside Lincoln Center due to coronavirus restrictions, musicians and opera singers are performing out of a pickup truck as part of the Philharmonic's "Bandwagon Series."
The truck brings music to public spaces across the city. "Sometimes there'll be a fire truck, or a garbage truck is blocking where we were gonna play," Borda said. "It's New York."
Moore's piece was performed at a show near the Brooklyn Bridge and in front of Lincoln Center. She was part of the performance from start to finish – not only composing the music, but directing the musicians.
Despite restrictions, the philharmonic has been able to bring music to countless New Yorkers this year. And it allowed at least one young composer to feel heard. "Music is universal," Moore said. "It doesn't matter where you are or where you're from or what language you speak. Everyone can understand it."