Classical music is known for having a European hegemony, but Roderick Cox is looking to change that.
On July 19, the Minikahda Golf Club was the home of the fundraising reception for the Roderick Cox Music Initiative. The event was for the production of “Conducting Life,” a documentary highlighting the lifelong journey of conductor Roderick Cox. It also helped in creating eight music scholarships for students. This initiative is geared towards African-American and Latino youth finding an outlet to grow their love for classical music, even if they do not have the money for instruments or lessons.
Cox, a Georgia-native, ended up in Minnesota when he was chosen to be the associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra from 2016 to 2018. He has since been selected to be one of four participants in the 2018 Daniele Gatti Masterclass and is now based in Berlin. In 2018 he was honored with the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award.
Cox knows the importance of financial aid for cultivating his musical talent as he too struggled with his first French horn. When Cox first picked up a French horn, he loved to play it but it was shabby and held together by duct tape. He would play in recitals and orchestras with it until the Otis Redding Foundation provided him with a new one.
He has since grown to be a trailblazer in the world of classical music and is one of the few African-American conductors in the United States. Given his early struggles, he said it is important that his initiative can aid those who have a strong music passion but are in need of assistance.
“It’s important in terms of thinking about the future, giving back, spreading much of the knowledge and information you've learned through the years and giving others an opportunity to achieve and soar as well,” Cox said. “We all have to help each other. It’s a rigorous and elusive profession, everyone needs help through this process. That is the main goal of this initiative.”