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Representation & Responsibility: Equity in the Music Industry

Opera Theatre St. Louis Event Image
  • March 18
  • 7 p.m.
  • Jazz St. Louis
  • Free

Thanks for joining us for the third installment of our 2019 Representation & Responsibility series. This community conversation focused on topics of equity in the music industry, with a performance from Karen Slack (accompanied by Peter Martin and Bob DeBoo).

This event was part of a community tour with Terence Blanchard, the composer for OTSL's 2019 world premiere Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which was co-commissioned by Jazz St. Louis.


Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard is a five-time Grammy Award-winning composer whose original score for the 2018 film BlacKkKlansman is up for an Oscar this year. He composed his first opera, Champion, for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2013, and his second world premiere — Fire Shut Up in My Bones — is set to take the stage at OTSL on June 15.


Award-winning St. Louis, Missouri native Bates has been setting the tone for hip-hop artists for over a decade. Her brash and lyrical performance is unmatched, raising the bar for both men and women in the music industry. Bates' versatility and ability to have a strong presence at every intersection gained her national and local recognition. The epitome of self-made, the Midwest firecracker writes for herself and others, produces, engineers, writes and directs her own videos and is self-managed. Her independence and "no mercy" approach has changed the way women are viewed and represented in entertainment. Described as a true fighter and leader, the musical prodigy founded the largest all-female indie concert, Femfest, in 2013.

Joanna Mendoza

Lauded for her "eloquent phrasing" and "lush, sonorous and assertive tone,” Joanna Mendoza has been one of America's most sought-after chamber music violists and teachers for the past twenty years. Performing throughout North America, South America, Europe, and South Africa, she has collaborated with artists such as Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Robert Levin, David Shifrin, Alex Klein, Anton Nel, along with members of the Cleveland and Vermeer Quartets. Individually and as a quartet member, Ms. Mendoza has performed and taught at festivals in and outside the U.S. including Interlochen Arts Camp, Killington, Mammoth Lakes, Midwest Young Artists, and Bellingham Music Festivals, Madeline Island Chamber Music, at RenMin University in Beijing, China, and Jaragua do Sul, Barra Mansa, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Ms. Mendoza received her training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Juilliard School.

Gene Dobbs Bradford (Moderator)

Gene Dobbs Bradford has been the President and CEO of Jazz St. Louis since 1999. He’s seen the organization grow exponentially, completed a highly successful capital campaign and oversaw the redesign of the Ferring Jazz Bistro and Centene Education Center. He’s been awarded numerous accolades for his work in nonprofits and the arts, and for his impact in the St. Louis community, most recently the Arts and Education Council’s Excellence in the Arts award. Prior to Jazz St. Louis, Mr. Bradford worked for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Honolulu Symphony. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from the Eastman School of Music and an MBA from Washington University. Mr. Bradford also directs the Arts Management and Leadership department at Webster University, and can often be found performing blues harmonica around town.