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From its inception, the UCSO has maintained a diverse and inclusive orchestra, diverse and inclusive Board of Directors, and a diverse audience. The Orchestra and its Board of Directors have always reflected inclusivity of participation from the full spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity within our greater community. Payment to employed musicians is, and always has been, equal. All musicians meeting artistic standards yet under the age 18 always have been welcomed and encouraged to join the orchestra.

The orchestra actively seeks to bring our community the great compositions of composers from every background, presenting an unmatched diversity of composers from this country and around the world. Our music director of over a quarter century, Leon Burke, is an African American conductor with an international presence. He focuses on non-standard repertoire which stands in excellence with the traditional repertoire. In recent seasons he has curated programs which have featured Latinx music, and one full season which was devoted to the theme “Black Art Matters”. An annual concert which spotlights talented youth as soloists with the orchestra is popular with emerging artists and their communities.

We present concerts which are free and open to the public and thus do not discriminate based on the ability to pay for a ticket. The orchestra choses venues which provide full accessibility, and which enable us to accommodate and welcome every member of our community, no matter their background or physical challenge.

We actively seek board members from among our diverse orchestral membership and from among the greater community who specifically resonate with, and commit to, our mission to “… provide rich musical experiences and educational opportunities for the culturally diverse community of University City and beyond,” and who will improve our outreach to every corner of our community with their talents, time, and treasure.

No matter who you are, where you come from, or where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome here!

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