Meet Nicole Jordan, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s first full-time Black woman musician and new music librarian

Nicole Jordan will be the first Black woman to join the orchestra as a full-time member in the organization’s 120-year history.

Nicole Jordan

Nicole Jordan will begin her tenure as the Philadelphia Orchestra's principal librarian in 2020-21 season. (Courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra)

The Philadelphia Orchestra has made history with its latest hire.

Nicole Jordan has been appointed as the organization’s principal librarian, the orchestra announced Tuesday. Jordan — a Philadelphia High School for Girls graduate — will be the first Black woman to join the orchestra as a full-time member in the organization’s 120-year history.

According to the orchestra, Jordan was raised in Philly and began her career as the orchestra’s library fellow from 2008 to 2011.

Jordan earned her bachelor’s degree in viola performance from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and holds a master’s degree in music history from Temple University.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“Nicole will be an invaluable partner to me and my colleagues on the stage, and those in the administration, as we look to the future of the Philadelphia Orchestra,” Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin said in a statement.

Nézet-Séguin called Jordan “deeply impressive” throughout the orchestra’s lengthy audition process, citing her repertoire knowledge and her “inspiring view of what her role can and will be.”

In addition to maintaining archival records for the orchestra, the principal librarian is responsible for researching, preparing and distributing scores for all orchestra performances.

The orchestra said it relies on the principal librarian as an intellectual and musical resource throughout the artistic planning process, “shedding light on everything from new editions, her work with composers, the interesting stories behind the Orchestra’s historic music collection, and the music being performed and commissioned.”

Jordan will also help create a digital future for the orchestra library, per the organization.

In 2016, Jordan was appointed principal librarian of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra — becoming the first Black person to hold the position at a major orchestra.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Jordan will begin her tenure in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2020-21 season.

Show your support for local public media

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal