Perspectives Festival offers classical, contemporary music by musicians of color

We are pleased to be featured in the Perspectives Festival for the inaugural concert! Below is an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Cheers!


Hannah Qu, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A new music festival is coming to Pittsburgh next week and its aim is to amplify the voices of composers and musicians of color.

On June 21-26, the Pittsburgh Perspectives Festival will offer three classical and contemporary chamber music and jazz concerts. The concerts are free but donations will be accepted.

The first concert is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Park Church, 8800 Peebles Road, Franklin Park (15101) with music by Florence Price, Astor Piazzolla, William Grant Still and Jose White. The second concert is on Thursday at 6 p.m. at ​Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2001 Wylie Ave., Hill District (15219) with works by by Florence Price and Jessie Montgomery. The third concert is at 7:30 p.m. June 26 at Insomnia Discotec, 810 Brookline Blvd., Brookline (15226) with Latin beats by various composers.

The festival includes local musicians as well as artists from other cities. Audiences can expect three different variations of the string quartet, a woodwind quintet with a piano, three pianists and a jazz trio (bass, percussion and keyboard).

The festival was launched by Armenian American cellist and chamber musician Katya Janpoladyan and co-director Maureen Conlon Gutierrez. Funding comes from the Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra, Opportunity Fund, Heinz Endowments and Sphinx Organization.

“The idea for the festival came to me about four years ago after I started working on another project, where Kassia Ensemble was collaborating with the Demaskus Theater,”  Janpoladyan said. “I realize that musicians of color are largely underrepresented, especially in the Pittsburgh scene.”

In 2018, she started researching the logistics of holding a music festival, raising funds and connecting with musicians of color. 

“What made me very excited about it is that Pittsburgh received it and responded very positively, no matter what [the musician’s] background is, no matter what their location is,” Janpoladyan said. “It’s just like, ‘Oh, this is awesome.’ And it was a lot of people who were just like, ‘How can we help?’”

The audience response has also been enthusiastic. So far, 75% of the 200 seats at the first concert and 75% of the 350 seats at the second concert are reserved. All of the 150 seats for the third concert are taken. To reserve a seat or for more information, go to

The festival received around $30,000 from its funding groups. Janpoladyan said that will allow them to cover expenses for this year, and she’s hoping to raise more to bring back the Perspectives Festival next year.

“I have hopes that we can not only come back, but also be larger than three concerts and be able to invite more people and more out of town guests,” she said.

Hannah Qu:

First Published June 17, 2022, 11:22pm

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