Community Spotlight: Anwar Nasir

Anwar Nasir

Anwar Nasir was a participant in NAS’ Day of Learning programming in Omaha, Nebraska in 2019. In his role at the Omaha Symphony, Nasir launched The Silent Canon, a 13-episode radio show highlighting the significant contributions of Black and African Americans in classical music. We recently caught up with this driven leader to see how his work has evolved and what challenges he’s currently facing.

Nasir had a recent celebration to share, he had just accepted the executive director role at the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans, Louisiana. “I am incredibly honored and humbled to be asked to lead this wonderful organization,” Nasir said of his new position. ”As there are few non-white leaders of orchestras at this level, I feel so proud of this accomplishment.” The outpouring of support and encouragement Nasir has received from his peers and colleagues since announcing the move has been, in a word, “wonderful.”

As with any new job, the transition can be quite challenging. Nasir, who was part of the leadership team at the Omaha Symphony found himself ruminating on questions leaders often ask themselves when preparing for a new position, such as whether it’s the right time to leave or how prepared they are for this next chapter in their professional lives. These questions can be difficult for oneself to answer. In Nasir’s case, he was encouraged by thinking about all the people who believed in his abilities and were counting on him. “Show up every day and do your best by people,” Nasir said.

Nasir is a staunch advocate of leaders finding time to prioritize themselves. The act of self-care, especially in the midst of organizations tackling reopening plans, helps both leaders and their teams become happier, healthier, and avoid feelings of burnout.  “Take one moment to breathe deeply, meditate, or listen to your favorite album again from start to finish,” Nasir said. As for his own method of self-care? Nasir shared he’s recently been listening to Althea Waites’ Black Diamonds album over and over.

As our conversation wrapped, Nasir left us with some important parting words as the world continues to work at overcoming covid, “Be sure to put your mask on before you help others.”

Nasir is always looking to meet new arts and culture leaders, share stories, and support each other’s work. You can find him on Twitter or Instagram at @spellANWAR or connect with him on LinkedIn.