Conference 2016

"The Richness of Difference"

This year, nearly 1,000 orchestra administrators, musicians, trustees, and volunteers gathered in Baltimore for the League's 71st National Conference, in 2016. Here are some of the highlights. Check back soon! When materials from Conference sessions are available, they will be posted on this page. (Materials are not available for all sessions.) Scroll down to see the videos posted to date.

Address from The Honorable Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative (MD-7)
Closing Luncheon

Opening Plenary (VIDEO)
League Luncheon and Annual Meeting
Closing Luncheon (VIDEO)

The League is in the news! Check out recent Conference media coverage. 

Pre-Conference Seminars

Friday Sessions, 9:00am-10:15pm

Friday Sessions, 11:00am-12:15pm

Saturday Sessions, 9:00am-10:15am

Constituency Meetings

Volunteer Meetings


Opening Plenary

Our opening plenary, at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, began with a celebratory performance by the Baltimore Youth Symphony Orchestra and members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s renowned OrchKids program. This included the moving work "One Baltimore," composed by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra percussionist Brian Prechtl, one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras' new Ford Musicians Award for Excellence in Community Service. League president and CEO Jesse Rosen gave introductory context to our meeting. An address by keynote speaker Earl Lewis, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, followed, as well as a panel discussion moderated by Jamie Bennet, executive director, ArtPlace in America featuring Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Alex Laing, principal clarinet, Phoenix Symphony; and Lewis.

Opening Plenary:

Full Opening Plenary, including introductory remarks by Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras and address by keynote speaker Earl Lewis

"The Richness of Difference": Transcript of League of American Orchestras' President and CEO Jesse Rosen's introductory remarks

Speakers: Marin Alsop, music director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Jamie Bennett, executive director, ArtPlace in America; Alex Laing, principal clarinet, Phoenix Symphony; Earl Lewis, president, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

Excerpt of Opening Plenary: Address by keynote speaker Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 


 

Brian Prechtl: "One Baltimore," performed at the Opening Plenary by the Baltimore Youth Symphony Concert Orchestra; members of OrchKids; Nicholas Hersh, associate conductor, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Brian Prechtl, percussion and OrchKids teacher, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra


SD&A Teleservices, Inc. and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) generously co-sponsored the Opening Plenary.


League Luncheon and Annual Meeting

The League Luncheon and Annual Meeting included the presentation by Brent Assink, executive director, San Francisco Symphony, of the Gold Baton, the League's highest honor, to Kris Sinclair, executive director, Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO), who is retiring this year after thirty-one years at ACSO’s helm.

Five musicians were awarded the Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service: Penny Anderson Brill, Viola, Michael & Carol Belier Chair, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Sharon Orme, Bass Clarinet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Jeff Paul, Principal Oboist, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra;  Brian Prechtl, Percussion, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Beth Vandervennet, Cello, Oakland Symphony. 

Patricia A. Richards, chair, Board of Directors, League of American Orchestras, hosted the Annual Meeting.

The event was capped by a performance featuring highlights from Porgy & Bess and My Fair Lady, sponsored by Uzan International Artists, and featuring  Patrick Dunn, UIA Performer; Aaron Gandy, UIA Performer; Laquita Mitchell, UIA Performer; Victor Ryan Robertson, UIA Performer; Elena Shaddow, UIA Performer; Matthew Stephens, UIA Performer; and Tom Wopat, Chaplin Entertainment Performer.

The League Luncheon and Annual Meeting was emceed by Peabody Award winning broadcaster and producer, Elliott Forrest. 

The League of American Orchestras’ Annual Meeting was sponsored by CCS Fundraising

The Luncheon Showcase was sponsored by Uzan International Artists.


Closing Luncheon

Our closing luncheon, the capstone of the conference, featured a forum focused on identifying key actions orchestras can take, individually and collectively, to help our institutions and art form become more responsive to and reflective of the diversity and dynamism of 21st century America.

We heard from a renowned national policy leader, a remarkable civil rights activist as well as a senior leader within the U.S. Department of Education about the context and systems that dramatically shape efforts to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity. Their remarks were followed by a dynamic panel discussion with four members of our orchestral community deeply committed to enhancing orchestras' relevance to the broadest possible public.

Address from The Honorable Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative (MD-7)
Closing Luncheon


 

 

Address from DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activistAddress from Dr. Monique Chism, deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs, OESE, U.S. Department of Education; Closing Luncheon Remarks and Panel

Speakers: Marin Alsop, music director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Jamie Bennett, executive director, ArtPlace in America; Dr. Monique Chism, deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs, OESE, U.S. Department of Education; The Honorable U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (MD-7); Alex Laing, principal clarinet, Phoenix Symphony; DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist, We The Protestors; Anne Parsons, president and CEO, Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Gayle S. Rose, board chairman, Memphis Symphony Orchestra

Akustiks generously sponsored the Closing Luncheon.


Education and Community Engagement (EDCE) Pre-Conference Convening

This year's conference focused on diversity, particularly as it relates to increasing the involvement of members of underrepresented communities in all aspects of our orchestras—on stage, in the board room and the executive offices, and in the audience. This half-day convening, for all those interested in orchestras' education and community engagement efforts, was held at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids site. Using OrchKids (the nation's largest El Sistema-inspired program) as a case study, we observed two ensembles in action; heard directly from kids, parents, school personnel, partners, and BSO personnel; and engaged in a dynamic conversation about the key dimensions of music education programs that strive for social change, as well as critical questions to be addressed as the field develops.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this convening.

Speakers: Carol Bogash, vice president, education and community development, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra;  Eric Booth, president, Everyday Arts, Inc; Camille Delaney-McNeil, site coordinator, Lockerman-Bundy Elementary School, OrchKids; Ayanna Hudson, arts education director, National Endowment for the Arts; Dennie Palmer Wolf, principal, WolfBrown; Dan Trahey, artistic director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra OrchKids


Getting Your Board on Board with Donor Development and Fundraising

If there is a shared dream of board leaders, executive directors, and chief development officers, it is one in which every board member is taking part in donor development and fundraising. The good news is that this is not an impossible dream. AAA, a program for boards and volunteer councils that engages all members as Ambassadors and some as Advocates and/or Askers, is being used with great success by boards and volunteer councils across the country and around the world. In this seminar, the program’s developer, Kay Sprinkel Grace, introduced the program, provided tools for implementation, and shared her trusted approach to the philanthropic process and unique transaction to transformation giving model. Kay’s recent work with orchestras includes coaching major gift leadership committees at the LA Phil and San Francisco Symphony and working on board development and strategic planning with orchestras ranging from the Wichita Symphony Orchestra to the Oakland East Bay Symphony. She is on the board of Philharmonia Baroque.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this seminar.

View the materials for this seminar: Sample AAA Survey (Kay Sprinkel Grace)

Faculty: Kay Sprinkel Grace, organizational consultant, Transforming Philanthropy, LLC

This seminar was made possible by generous grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Hearst Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Seminar for New Executive Directors

You're a new executive director, in your first few years on the job, or about to become one. Not only are you navigating your way as the new CEO, but you are expected to be proficient in virtually every area of management, from fundraising and finance to governance, artistic programming, human resources, and everything in between. This seminar explored the myriad relationships an orchestra executive director must cultivate, surveyed the technical nuts and bolts of the position, and discussed strategies for keeping heads above water in what can be an all-consuming job. It provided participants with tools to be a more effective leader and suggestions on how to get off to a great start. Participants explored how orchestras are structured and how they function, as well as what is unique to their culture and what sets them apart from other types of organizations. Participants were introduced to a number of best practices for working with the board, staff, music director, musicians, donors, and community stakeholders. Participants had an opportunity to discuss specific challenges, share ideas, and strengthen relationships with peers at other orchestras. Participants were also provided with a bibliography of helpful readings and resources.

View the materials for this seminar: Chair Expectations of CEO, Chair Promises to CEO, Scott Faulkner's Orchestra Management Nuggets, Suggested Resources: Bibliography

Faculty: Scott Faulkner, principal bassist, Reno Philharmonic & Reno Chamber Orchestra, general manager, Classical Tahoe, former executive director, Reno Chamber Orchestra; Pat Richards, interim president & CEO, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera; chair of the board of directors, League of American Orchestras; William Quillen, director of development, Berkeley Symphony; John Verdon, vice president and chief financial officer, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

This seminar is made possible by generous grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Hearst Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Building a Dynamic Individual Giving Program

In today’s highly competitive philanthropic environment, fundraising programs must engage donors in more creative ways, be responsive to changing donor behaviors and trends, and utilize the most effective fundraising techniques that deliver maximal results. This session explored some of the best practices, strategies, and creative techniques seen in highly performing fundraising programs.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Speaker: Jane Hargraft, vice president for development, Seattle Symphony


Developing Your Diversity Plan

It can be a daunting task to define, articulate, and prioritize the actions necessary to advance orchestra diversity. During this session, we explored a framework for diversity and inclusion planning. Panelists from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra shared how they have applied the framework to build momentum around diversity and inclusion work. Opportunities and challenges encountered during the planning process were discussed.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Speakers: Jessica Schmidt, director of education and community engagement, Boston Symphony Orchestra, consultant; Susan Stucker, chief operating officer, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; Bob Wagner, principal bassoonist, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Made possible by a generous grant from Ford Foundation.


Electronic Media Strategy and Implementation in an Age of Continuous Change

Production, distribution channels, and revenue models change at a dizzying rate, requiring ever greater clarity of electronic media goals and strategy. This session explored critical strategic questions for orchestras of all sizes, unpacked the Integrated Media Agreement, and provided insights into current and evolving implementation models.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Speakers: Vince Ford, director of digital media, New York Philharmonic; Joe Kluger, principal, WolfBrown


Taking Out the Guesswork: Using Research to Build Arts Audiences

Cultivating new audiences and strengthening bonds with current attendees is a top priority for most arts organizations. Audience research can advance those goals by helping you understand barriers preventing potential audiences from attending; discover potential points of engagement; develop more effective promotional materials; and assess progress toward audience-building goals. Even so, many orchestras shy away from research, often citing lack of money, time, or skills to carry it out. Drawing from a new guide published by The Wallace Foundation, this session with marketing and research expert Bob Harlow demonstrated how research is helping organizations build audiences, with guidance on how to carry it out effectively, even on a small budget.

In the accompanying video, speaker Bob Harlow delivers his Taking Out the Guesswork presentation at the 2016 conference of Arts Reach, an association of arts professionals.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Speaker: Bob Harlow, Bob Harlow Research & Consulting, LLC

Made possible by the generous support of The Wallace Foundation.


Building a Healthy Organizational Culture to Attract and Retain Talent

Finding the right people for your board, staff, or volunteer council can be a challenge. So can keeping them. Cultivating an organizational culture that empowers individuals and teams to do their best work and that ensures people feel valued is essential. In this session, we unpacked practices you can employ to improve productivity and morale back home.

View the materials for this seminar: Handout

Speaker: Pratichi Shah, founder and CEO, Flourish Talent Management Solutions (FTMS)

Sponsored by Partners in Performance.


Capitalizing a Reimagined Subscription Model

There is much talk today about reimagining subscription models. In this session, Susan Nelson of TDC helped delegates understand the implications of making a change in your subscription programs, drawing on examples from TDC’s practice. She noted the key questions an organization must address and review expense and revenue models. Participants left with a clearer insight into potential options and the resources required to support new ways of packaging your subscriptions —both in terms of risk capital as well as long-term liquidity needs.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Speaker: Susan Nelson, executive vice president, TDC


Exemplary Community Service: Ford Musician Awardees in Action

Delegates met the musicians whose exemplary community service earned a Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras. They experienced samples of the musicians' work and learned what motivated them to go above and beyond. Delgates learned how to foster and recognize the full range of potential for musicians to make a difference through community engagement activities

View the materials for this session: Music and Wellness at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Speakers: Eric Booth, president, Everyday Arts, Inc; Penny Anderson Brill, viola, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Music and Wellness Program; Shannon Orme, bass clarinet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Neighborhood Residency Initiative; Jeffrey Paul, principal oboe, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra’s Lakota Music Project; Brian Prechtl, percussion, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids; Beth Vandervennet, cello, Oakland Symphony’s Music for Excellence Program (MUSE)

Made possible by the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund.


The Future of American Orchestras

Technology and orchestras are beginning to intersect in weird and wonderful ways. That technology will enable orchestras to engage a bigger audience, solve endemic budget and cash-flow problems, and nurture the next-generation of musicians. But only if it’s used correctly. In this session, internationally renowned futurist Amy Webb showed attendees a provocative series of snapshots from the near future — and she challenged them to think hard about what to do in the present.

View the materials for this session: Digital Toolkit

Speaker: Amy Webb, founder and CEO, Future Today Institute


Resourcing Diversity Work

In an age of rapid demographic change, many funders and arts organizations are challenged to be more reflective of and responsive to increasingly diverse communities. We heard from a panel of leading institutional funders about their efforts to support arts organizations pursuing inclusive and equitable practices in governance, administration, and programming. We discussed promising strategies that cultural organizations and supporters are exploring and employing.

Speakers: Janet Brown, president & CEO, Grantmakers in the Arts; Susan Feder, program officer, performing arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Marian Godfrey, cultural advisor, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation; Edwin Torres, deputy commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Made possible by a generous grant from Ford Foundation.


Inclusive Leadership

Ensuring that people with different backgrounds and perspectives are able to contribute fully to your organization, regardless of the role they play, is a key leadership challenge. During this session we explored leadership practices that can bring diverse groups of people together to move things forward.

View the materials for this session: How Diversity Can Help Save Classical Music

Speaker: Andrés Tapia, senior client partner, Korn Ferry Hay Group

Andrés Tapia is the author of The Inclusion Paradox - 2nd Edition: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity, now available.


Music Education for All

Alarming disparities in public school music education shortchange too many students of essential learning opportunities and result in less arts participation throughout their lives. You can do something about it. Recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) shifts decision-making about education priorities from the federal government to the state and school district level, providing unprecedented opportunities for orchestras to take action to increase music education in public schools.

View the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

View the materials for this session: Every Student Succeeds Act: Resources for Orchestras, Ed.gov Coverage of Boston Public Schools

Speakers: Doug Herbert, special assistant, office of innovation and improvement, U.S. Department of Education; Ayanna Hudson, arts education director, National Endowment for the Arts; Scott D. Jones, senior associate, Arts Education Partnership, Education Commission of the States; Theodore Wiprud, vice president, education, New York Philharmonic


Music Unwound: Connecting Underrepresented Communities to Orchestras through the Humanities

Since 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities has invested $1 million in Music Unwound, a national consortium of orchestras, music festivals, and institutions of higher education that has dynamically linked orchestras to African-American, Native-American, and Mexican-American communities. The project’s thematic, multi-media programs (which are also available to orchestras outside the consortium) match orchestras with high schools, universities, and museums. The themes include immigration, race, and the never-ending quest for American identity. JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, testifies: “Many concertgoers told us that [Music Unwound’s Dvorak and America] was their favorite concert of the year. What was truly astonishing was how many said that Dvorak’s New World Symphony had been transformed for them – revealed as a work with deep American literary roots and steeped in Dvorak’s empathy for Native-Americans and African-Americans. The composer himself emerged not only as a consummate artist but as a great humanitarian and visionary.” Recently, under Music Unwound, the South Dakota Symphony took Dvorak’s symphony to an Indian reservation.

View the materials for this session: Thematic Programming for Orchestras, Festivals, and Schools

Speakers: Donato Cabrera, resident conductor, San Francisco Symphony; Delta David Gier, music director, South Dakota Symphony; Joe Horowitz, executive director, PostClassical Ensemble


Constituency Meetings

Development, Group 1-2

Materials:, Presentation: Patron Development, Presentation: Building Blocks of a Successful Planned Giving Program for Orchestras of All SizesReading: Orchestrating Centennial Success in Baltimore, Presentation: Best Practices in Planning & Evaluating Organizational Readiness for Successful Endowment & Comprehensive Campaigns

Development, Group 3-8

Materials: Presentation: Building Blocks of a Successful Planned Giving Program for Orchestras of All Sizes, Reading: Orchestrating Centennial Success in Baltimore, Presentation: Best Practices in Planning & Evaluating Organizational Readiness for Successful Endowment & Comprehensive Campaigns

Education and Community Engagement

Materials: Reading: Every Student Succeeds Act: Resources for Orchestras, Presentation: CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship

Executive Directors, Group 2

Materials: Reading: Orchestrating Centennial Success in Baltimore, Presentation: Audience Building Through Free Outdoor Simulcasting

Executive Directors, Groups 3-4

Materials: Presentation: Change Management

Executive Directors Group 7-8

Materials: Presentation: The AAA Way to Fundraising Success: Maximum Involvement, Maximum Results, Sample AAA Survey (Kay Sprinkel Grace)

General Operations/Managers

Materials: Presentation: Electronic Media Strategy, Presentation: Ways Technology Can Help Reach New People, Overview of Ivory Ban and Musical Instruments, Instrument Permit Rules for Protected Species Material, Artistsfromabroad.org, Flight Plan for Musical Instruments, Overtime Pay Resources

Marketing, Groups 1-2

Materials: Presentation: Patron Development, Presentation: Connecting with Patrons in a Mobile-First Culture

Marketing, Groups 3-8

Materials: Presentation: Patron Development

Musicians:

Materials: Education Policy Resource Center, Overview of Ivory Ban and Musical Instruments, Instrument Permit Rules for Protected Species Material, Flight Plan for Musical Instruments

Public Relations

Materials: Presentation: Organizational Approaches to Content Marketing and Storytelling

Trustees

Materials: Presentation: Managing Financial Risk, Presentation: Optimizing Your Board’s Fundraising Effectiveness, The League’s Public Value Message Framework, Orchestra Story Bank, Mapping Partnerships


Volunteers

Gold Book Awards:

Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Volunteers for Symphony
100 Years, 100 Cellos

Augusta Symphony Guild, Inc.
Cotillion's 50th Anniversary

Women's Symphony League of Tyler
A New Approach to Scrapbooking

Women's Symphony League of Tyler
Annual Jazz Spectacular

Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Inc.
You're Never Too Old To Start Over – The ESCCO Project

Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra
"Perfect Square": Kinder Konzerts Commission, Premiere and Regular Season

Steal, Copy, Tweak Panel:

Arkansas Symphony Guild
All Decked Out For The Symphony

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte
Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour

Fashion Forward Fundraising Workshop
Featuring the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild, and Southwest Florida Symphony Society

Roundtable Award Handout:

Friends of Symphony Orchestra Augusta
Backstage Guardian Angels

Women's Symphony League of Tyler
One & Done

Baltimore Symphony Associates
Music Adventures

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte
Young Artists Competition

Spokane Symphony Associates
(Classic Award)
Christmas Tree Elegance

Symphony League of Kansas City
The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars

Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild
Adopt-A-Musician

Amarillo Symphony Guild
Symphony Kids

Spokane Symphony Associates
Bulletin Board

Madison Symphony Orchestra League
Launching the John DeMain Award

The Volunteer Committees for The Philadelphia Orchestra
Perfect Harmony

Volunteer Council Resources
2016 Handout

 

These materials are also on the Conference website, which lists all sessions that took place: americanorchestras.org/Conference2016.

Who attended Conference 2016? View a list of delegates by organization or last name.