As Orchestras Serve Their Communities, Public Policies Should Promote Global Expression and Creativity

This month and next, America's orchestras are beginning new concert seasons that present music, ideas, and traditions from across the globe. In communities large and small, creative partnerships and collaborations across borders will make possible a new year of performances by more than 1,600 orchestras that will reach nearly 25 million people in the United States. 

Orchestras of all kinds—from youth orchestras to community orchestras to big-city orchestras—are partnering with schools to expand opportunities for learning for an increasingly diverse student population, programming innovative concerts that celebrate both established and emerging immigrant communities, and readying for a new wave of international tours.

  • As the Supreme Court begins deliberations on October 10 on the Executive Order issued in March 2017 banning travel from six countries, the League of American Orchestras stands by our statement calling for policies that fully support engagement with a diversity of ideas.  We also continue to advance a policy request for the Department of Homeland Security to ensure access to artist visas for artists from all counties of origin, and we are in dialogue with partners across the creative community and in museums who are calling for the Court's full consideration of the ban's impact on free expression.
  • The League also continues efforts to strengthen the U.S. artist visa process and to make it more reliable, affordable, and predicable. On September 15, the League traveled to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services visa processing center to speak directly with service center and agency personnel about barriers to accessing the visas needed for guest artists who perform alongside U.S. musicians. These difficulties are well-known to us as the League provides frequent, direct assistance to orchestras navigating this process. The League also keeps up with changes to visa policies, helping us to provide the most comprehensive resource on the artist visa and tax requirements:ArtistsfromAbroad.org. 
  • And, in support of both visiting musicians and U.S. orchestras touring across the globe, we're speaking up on both the domestic and international policy fronts to ensure that new and important policies that protect endangered species do not unintentionally prevent musicians from crossing borders with their best musical instruments.
The League of American Orchestras is committed to this work because everything orchestras do to celebrate and explore diverse perspectives depends upon supportive public policies that serve to facilitate, rather than inhibit, expression and creativity. This work is also integral to the League's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy.

As a new season of music-making begins, we stand ready to serve our members and remain a part of policy dialogues that facilitate vibrant artistry, both within the U.S., and internationally.

September 19, 2017