Lizzo Makes Major Donation to The Sphinx Organization

By David Salazar
(Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress)

Famed pop star and flautist Lizzo has donated $50,000 to The Sphinx Organization in support of Black and Latinx artists in classical music. The donation comes as part of the Lizzo’s fourth annual Juneteenth giveback.

“Thank you to Sphinx for all you do to transform young black musicians lives through the arts,” Lizzo said in a Tweet.

Established in 1997 by Aaron Dworkin,The Sphinx Organization partners with over 118 American orchestras with the aim of transforming audition accessibility and modernize practices for auditions, tenure, and promotions within the industry.

Per a report by League of American Orchestra, “ Black or African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaska Native representation is significantly lower among orchestra musicians than in the U.S. population overall.” The report notes that while there has been an improvement over the last 10-year period, the improvement for “Black or African American representation improved at a slower rate than that of any other racial / ethnic group.”

While white people make up just 59.4 percent of the U.S. population per the July 2021 census estimates, it made up 79.1 of orchestra musicians in the U.S. during 2022-23. Meanwhile Black or African American people make up 12.6 percent of the U.S. population but only 2.4 percent of the orchestra population; Hispanic / Latinx people make up 18.9 percent of the population but only 4.8 percent of the orchestra musicians in the U.S.

Of all conductors, including assistant conductors and music directors, 68.4 percent are white, nine percent are Hispanic / Latinx, and only 6.7 percent are Black or African American people. View the full report here.