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Eastman conference to focus on gender equity in music

The Eastman School of Music holds its first Gender Equity in Music Conference on Tuesday.

Organizers say that the goals for the daylong event include examining the impact of equity issues on the professional lives of musicians and to identify steps that can be taken to make changes for the future.

It will look at a variety of issues, ranging from pay equity to sexual assault.

John Hain is the Associate Dean of Academic and International Affairs at Eastman. He said this conference grew out of the interests voiced by students at the school as well as the staff.

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“We brainstormed with them, we talked with a bunch of faculty and staff here and across the university and this idea of having a conference specifically focused on this issue and bringing in guest speakers and allowing the students to also be part of the solution, really resonated with everyone,” Hain said.

The keynote speaker for the Tuesday conference is Elizabeth Rowe, principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra who got international attention in 2018 when she filed an equal pay lawsuit against the orchestra.

And Hain said organizers are hoping this conference will develop some action items.

“We want the students and we want all the participants to come together and say, what’s next? And we hope from that we can come away with lots of really positive ideas for the next steps both here at Eastman, but also for our community, for the musical community at large,” Hain said.

Faculty at Eastman are being encouraged to take their classes to the conference, so that they and their students can continue the conversation beyond the single-day event.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.