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Baytown Symphony Orchestra Appoints First African American Conductor, Clarence Frank

Frank is the only African American music director of any community or professional orchestra in the Houston region.

Baytown Symphony Orchestra Appoints First African American Conductor, Clarence Frank

Clarence Frank has played in the Baytown Symphony for about 25 years, and in January he was named the orchestra's new music director and first African American conductor in its 53-year history, Houston Public Media reports.

Frank is the only African American music director of any community or professional orchestra in the Houston region. Only about 4.3% of U.S. orchestra conductors and less than 2% of orchestra musicians are African American.

"In the classical music world, or in the symphony world, there's not a lot of people of color," Frank said. "So it just means a great deal to me that I was given this chance to show that, you know, we have an interest in this."

Frank is hoping that his career will inspire other young musicians of color to follow their dreams as well.

"I would hope that maybe people, through me, can see that, yes, it's possible," he said. "And they would be encouraged to audition for these things, and to go for them without any reservation."

Frank's first concert as conductor of the Baytown Symphony is tentatively scheduled for April, with details pending COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Read more on Houston Public Media.


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