“Symphonic Diversity” is an exhibition of children’s literature, symphonic music, and artwork representing a collaboration between students in the Fall 2022 semester of MUS 355A01, Music Genres: Symphonic Music and ART 201 Media, Techniques & Inquiry for Elementary & Middle Level School.
Recognizing the need to decolonize the Western classical music canon and feeling keenly that all children need to see themselves in classical music—regardless of gender, class, or race—the students wanted to find a way to make a difference in young lives now. Coming together across disciplines, the music and art students researched marginalized composers and their music and selected music they believed children would love. Working carefully with the research of scholars in children’s literature and child development, the students cast their vision for the stories and the lessons they wanted to share through these composers and their music.
The stories the students wrote and illustrated reflect the idea that there are multiple approaches to addressing marginalization: in some cases, the stories they tell directly address discrimination—it’s important that we are honest with children about the way we treated communities of people in our pasts and the struggles they still face. On the other hand, sometimes the story is presented mater-of-factly: a story might just happen to be about a child of color or a non-gendered child or an inner-city child—anyone can belong to classical music, and it doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Each of the book displays include a QR Code so you can use your personal device to listen to the symphonic music that forms the backdrop of each story as you read the book and view the artwork. The books and artwork are entirely student-produced from research to permissions to editing to publishing. The future looks more bright when seen through the hearts of such students who are so passionate about making their world a better place for the children of the next generation.
This project is made possible through a generous University Teaching Grant from the Center for Integrated Professional Development and in collaboration with Dr. Julia O'Connell, SUNY Broome Community College.
February 13–April 11, 2023
Milner Library, Floor 6
Monday, February 20
Milner Library, Floor 6
Allison A. Alcorn
Professor of Musicology
Instructional Assistant Professor of Art