WHO WE ARE
First assembled in 2017 and formally incorporated in 2020, PROTESTRA (protest + orchestra) is a 501(c)(3) organization that bridges the divide between advocacy and classical music. PROTESTRA's grassroots orchestral benefit concerts inspire activism by contextualizing classical music performance through multimedia education, and turn voluntary audience donations into targeted support for mission- and policy- driven groups related to the concerts' themes. PROTESTRA's new vision for classical music prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation in both its hiring and programming practices.
PROTESTRA is a growing community of musicians who care deeply about the issues that affect our daily lives. We believe music reaches and impacts more people when it's connected to a cause or watershed moment, and is imbued with the spirit of learning and inclusion.
HOW & WHY WE GOT STARTED
Music can be a powerful vehicle for awareness and action, but Classical Music as an institution has historically been noticeably tacit on matters of social justice such as racism, gender discrimination, and systemic erasure and exclusion.
Four musicians—Michelle Rofrano, Ian Vlahović, Natasha Loomis, and Mitzy Nonaka—saw the ongoing need for an orchestral ensemble that actively addresses these real-world issues. We founded PROTESTRA with the goal of speaking out, taking action against injustices, and finding others to join us in this important work.
WHAT WE DO
- Organize and perform orchestral benefit concerts that educate audiences by highlighting important social justice issues
- Provide a forum for discussing these issues and empower musicians to stand up for what they believe
- Raise funds for charities and activist organizations focused on social justice
- Advocate for and exemplify greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classical music industry through our musical programming, hiring practices, and company culture
In-person concerts were cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, but PROTESTRA saw the opportunity to use social media platforms to present accessible digital concert experiences and initiate dialogues with a broader community. PROTESTRA maintains a robust social media presence, creating and sharing original content and resources with 8,000+ followers across multiple platforms. To learn more about our recent projects, check out our website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
WHAT WE HOPE TO DO & WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We're excited to resume in-person events for our 2021-2022 season! With your financial support, we can hold pay-what-you-can orchestral concerts that respond to current events and educate audiences about large-scale sociopolitical issues. Your contributions will help us create community-minded concerts, program works by underrepresented composers, and compensate our musicians.
We hope you’ll consider donating to our young organization and join us in uplifting musicians, advocating for important causes, and ensuring the future of classical music. Thank you for taking the time to read this—we look forward to growing together with you!