Clarinetist and music teacher Eun Lee had noticed musicians in many genres had supported Black Lives Matter except she didn't see anything from classical musicians like herself. "As much as we were seeing a response from rap musicians and folk musicians and now more and more pop musicians," Lee tells The New York Times, "there was no such response from the classical music community."
So Lee took charge of the situation, organizing The Dream Unfinished, an activist orchestra whose mission is to promote New York City-based civil-rights organizations. The New York Times reports the Dream Unfinished's first concert held July 17, 2015, the one-year anniversary of Eric Garner's death drew an audience of 300 and included speeches by activitists (including Eric Garner's daughter) and a music program featuring works by Leonard Bernstein and William Grant Still.
This year's Dream Unfinished concert takes place Wednesday, July 13, at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City. The 2016 concert is entitled Sing Her Name, and it is a musical tribute to black women impacted by racial injustice, and women activists and organizers of the historic Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements. According to the concert's EventBrite page, Sing Her Name features a program of music by women composers, including New York and U.S. premieres of works by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Ethel Smyth, and a new choral work composed by Courtney Bryan, with text by poet Sharan Strange. The concert date falls on the one-year anniversary of the death of Sandra Bland, who died while in police custody in Texas in 2015.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Center for Constitutional Rights, African American Policy Forum and Black Women's Blueprint. And now, following last week's shootings, Lee tells the New York Times she is "looking forward to a communion of people. We need that right now, rather than us all isolated, looking at our phone screens or computer screens and feeling these feelings all by ourselves."
More information about the 2016 Dream Unfinished concert can be found on EventBrite, and in the YouTube video embedded below, Eun Lee further describes her commitment to Black Lives Matter.