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Black squareGotham Early Music Scene bears witness to the civil unrest sparked by the murders of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and thousands of Black Americans. We understand and share the anger towards a society where Black lives are devalued and the wheels of justice are turned selectively. Our culture must change.

Today, we recommit ourselves as an organization that values and uplifts every member of our musical community. To that end, we have held ourselves accountable. Three months ago, we engaged and empowered two of our most distinguished early music artists, soprano Michele Kennedy and bass Joseph Chappel, to create a new concert series showcasing outstanding professional artists from under-represented communities. Entitled “Open Gates”, the new series will launch in the spring of 2021 with a program featuring a dozen African-American, Hispanic, and Asian women singers and instrumentalists performing early music by or about women. It will be held in venues in the Bronx, upper Manhattan, and Queens. There's more to be done, but it is a step we are taking towards equality and inclusion.

Today, and everyday, we stand for those whom have been silenced, those whose rest is eternal, those robbed of their breath by police brutality and racial prejudice. Today, we stand with our Black friends and partners. We stand with those who protest and struggle to affect positive social change. As always, we stand against those who perpetuate and are complicit in a culture of racism and marginalization.

Mozart is credited to have said "the silence between the notes is as important as the notes themselves." On #BlackOutTuesday, we prolong the absence of notes in order to interrupt the silence against racism. We are taking this pause to express our support for those who demand and deserve a more perfect union. We are gathering our collective breath in preparation to lift every voice, and all instruments at our disposal, in concert against police brutality and systemic racism. We take this time to say "Black lives matter." This is the effort in which we have engaged, to relieve the voices of those who plead for the recognition of their humanity, the voices which cry in grief, the voices who scream out for justice and equality.

GEMS is a non-profit corporation that supports and promotes the artists and organizations in New York devoted to early music— the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical periods.

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