The League of American Orchestras in association with The University of Southern California Arts Leadership Program presents:

Essentials of Orchestra Management

Hosted by the USC Thornton School of Music
Los Angeles, California
July 16-26, 2018  


Congratulations to the 34 Essentials participants! 

Please find the program press announcement, with faculty and participant information, here.

View the 2018 Essentials Resource Site

Click here to check out the recap of the 2018 Essentials Seminar!


Essentials of Orchestra Management is an immersive ten-day seminar that prepares orchestra professionals to be effective administrators and leaders. This residential program on the campus of USC provides an in-depth overview of orchestra management, builds career networks, and offers participants a unique opportunity to obtain what’s necessary to become an innovative and successful leader in the arts. It’s referred to by many as the gold standard of orchestra management training.

Led by a faculty of currently active orchestra executives, musicians, and leadership experts, the seminar is designed to address both theory and practice, integrating the faculty’s extensive practical experience and professional knowledge in the course curriculum.

Participants will reside on the USC campus, where the seminar is based. Excursions to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and community-based programs will make the most of the Los Angeles setting.

Since its inception in 2000, over 400 emerging leaders have participated in Essentials, including many who now hold key leadership positions in orchestras.

The purpose of Essentials is to:  

  • Serve as a platform for the development of future orchestra leaders
  • Envision orchestras as they look to the future
  • Deepen the knowledge and skills of the people in the field
  • Connect orchestra professionals to one another
  • Inspire life-long careers in, and dedication to, orchestras, and
  • Strengthen orchestras as they carry out their missions

Through the immersive Essentials experience, and in addition to cultivating a network of peers and mentors, participants who complete the seminar will:

  • Optimize the critical thinking skills necessary to identify, diagnose, and resolve strategic challenges in the orchestral field, both today's and tomorrow's.
  • Learn how to advance orchestras as diverse and inclusive organizations ready to fulfill their unique role in the cultural context of their communities.
  • Develop leadership abilities to work productively with competing imperatives and within a wide range of constituent groups including patrons, musicians, staff, boards, and partner organizations.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of core business and operating practices in American orchestras.
  • Deepen their knowledge of orchestral performances and learn to speak about orchestral music with understanding and insight.
  • Identify key resources for continued professional development.
  • Receive a one-year membership to the League of American Orchestras


Scott Faulkner, leading a group activity
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Haraman

Seminar Details

Dates: July 16–26, 2018
Location: USC Thornton School of Music, Los Angeles, California
Class size: Limited to 30

Core Faculty

Jennifer Barlament, executive director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Scott Faulkner, bassist, Reno Philharmonic; former executive director, Reno Chamber Orchestra
Alexander Laing, principal clarinetist, Phoenix Symphony
Simon Woods, chief executive officer, Los Angeles Philharmonic

A distinguished roster of guest faculty will supplement the seminar experience, including:

Kenneth Foster, director of the Arts Leadership Program at USC; leadership from the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and prominent musicians and artists from the Greater L.A. area.

Program Fees*

Application fee - $60
Tuition - $3,495

*The application fee is non-refundable. Tuition includes housing on the USC campus. If accepted into the EssentialsClass of 2018, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 will be due on or before May 7, 2018. The balance will be due on or before July 2, 2018. Housing covers ten nights’ accommodation in a single room in a two-bedroom suite with a shared bathroom in the University Village complex on the USC campus. Each participant will be responsible for covering their own costs of travel, and most meals.

Who Should Apply?

Early career professionals, career changers, graduate students, and musicians are encouraged to apply. Experienced administrators who wish to expand and deepen their knowledge-base in all aspects of an orchestral organization are also welcome.

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Essentials of Orchestra Management is presented by
the League of American Orchestras
in association with
The University of Southern California Arts Leadership Program


USC 75_logo


Essentials of Orchestra Management is made possible by generous grants from
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.