Recording Inclusivity Initiative (RII): Let’s diversify America’s playlist, together.
RII was created by All Classical Portland (ACP), a public radio station based in the Pacific Northwest, in collaboration with N M Bodecker Foundation and Naxos Records. RII seeks to address the gap of classical music composers from underrepresented communities that make it onto the airwaves. Launched in January 2021, this initiative is the work of collaborators who believe that classical music is for everyone, led by ACP and funded in part by Oregon Cultural Trust, Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Sorel Organization. Over the past two years, ACP has outlined strategy and written curriculum; engaged legal counsel to advise on contracts, copyright, and trademark; designed marketing assets; assembled a nominations panel from diverse communities; and coordinated a recording schedule.
A public call for nominations encouraged listeners, Pacific Northwest artists, and arts organizations to nominate works by classical composers from underrepresented communities to be recorded and published, stimulating regional/national awareness and local community support. In spring 2021, the RII Panel and Executive Advisors reviewed nearly 100 submissions and selected five compositions: two posthumous awardees and three works by living composers. The living composers were named Composers in Residence, in collaboration with Bodecker Foundation, and offered a week-long residency including creative workshops with musicians, recording sessions in a state-of-the-art studio, and a $2,500 award.
All five compositions are currently being recorded by Bodecker Foundation at Halfling Studio. The scores will be published, if applicable, and the recordings will be mastered and distributed by a partner record label in tandem with Naxos Records. ACP will spearhead creating a database of RII recordings, to be shared with partner public radio stations for free download and airplay.
In the coming year, ACP will challenge public radio stations across the USA to launch their own regional initiative, providing a how-to kit based on lessons learned from the inaugural RII. This kit will include grant application materials, marketing and branding assets, curriculum for productive community discussions, recording specs for broadcast-ready recordings, legal contracts, and more. KMFA in Austin has officially signed on to the initiative and we aim to inspire production of 200 recordings over the next 2-3 years.