New: American Orchestras’ Futures Fund

League of American Orchestras

$4.5M grantmaking program, funded by the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation, will support significant investments in learning and innovation.

American Orchestras’ Futures Fund

Made possible by the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation

Quick Links

Across the country, orchestras are vigorously engaged in groundbreaking work, embracing opportunities presented by the current environment. To support this innovative work, the League is thrilled to announce the American Orchestras' Futures Fund, made possible through the generous support of the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation and administered by the League.

This exciting $4.5 million grants program (with $3 million in grants in the first cycle) will support a select number of orchestras that are making significant investments in organizational learning and innovation. Two-year organizational grants as well as short-term technical assistance grants will be available for new or ongoing work that demonstrates an impact on the organization, and on its audiences and communities. U.S.-based adult and youth orchestras that are members of the League are eligible to apply.

Larger budget League member orchestras (Groups 1-4) may now submit letters of intent (due October 24) for organizational grants for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. In the summer of 2017, smaller budget orchestras (Groups 5-8) and youth orchestras may apply for organizational grants for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. Applications for the Technical Assistance grants will be due in August 2017 for Groups 1-4 and in August 2018 for Groups 5-8 and youth orchestras.

Examples of the work that will be supported by the two-year organizational grants include but are not limited to one or more of the following:

  • Experimenting with multi-media and new technologies inside the concert hall or outside the concert hall in order to engage with audiences in virtual and digital realms;
  • Addressing new organizational models that explore alternatives to traditional operating models, offer new leadership structures, and redefine relationships among organizational stakeholders;
  • Crafting programs on or off the stage that are responsive to and reflective of their communities and the key issues they face;
  • Engaging neighborhoods and populations beyond the concert hall;
  • Increasing participation and engagement in music by racially, ethnically, and economically diverse individuals and communities;
  • Researching the reasons people attend, or don't attend, concerts and tailor offerings to support multiple and distinct audience segments;
  • Pursuing new strands of community service, such as health and wellness programming, lifelong learning activities, and cross-cultural creative partnerships;
  • Developing new ways to advance classical music as an art form such as new forms of performance, new concert experiences, and new artistic partnerships;
  • Pursuing other initiatives that result in organizational learning and innovation.

The technical assistance grants will help orchestras develop the processes, tools, and information or research needed to successfully develop learning and innovation capabilities.

Judging and Eligibility
Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis reviewed by independent, arms-length panels. U.S.-based adult and youth orchestras that are members of the League are eligible to apply. (And orchestras can join now to become eligible.)

Background on Earlier Grants Programs
In May 2016, the League notified members of changes in the grantmaking process for funds for orchestras that have originated with the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation. These changes affect orchestras that received grants directly from the Foundation as well as those that received grants through the League's re-granting program, the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants Program.

The American Orchestras' Futures Fund replaces and builds on these earlier Getty-funded and League-sponsored grants. The Getty Foundation's generous support of the new Futures Fund allows the League to grant larger and longer-term grants than those previously available through the League's Getty Education and Community Investment program.

The Foundation independently made this decision to redirect most of its support to orchestras through the League, based on the success of our Getty Education and Community Investment Grants Program. The League worked with an advisory group of managers from member orchestras as well as experienced grantmakers to design this new program that is consistent with the Foundation's priorities. The League's Managers Advisory Committee also reviewed and supported a draft program design.

Calendar 2016 will be the last year that 1) Getty will make grants directly to orchestras and 2) that the League will administer the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants Program.

For More Information
Please see the complete program description and packet, the online application, and information on the October 7 orientation webinar.

We strongly encourage prospective applicants to attend the webinar, during which many questions will be answered. As a secondary option, however, a limited number of 15-minute consultation calls may be scheduled on October 11, 13, and 20. Click here to schedule an appointment.

For further information, please be in touch with Yoo-Jin Hong, Director, Programs, League of American Orchestras, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 646 822 4021.

With Thanks
We are enormously grateful to the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation for this expanded support and look forward to working with you on this program.

Good Sources for Arts News

Duplicated with the kind permission of Thomas Cott (@youvecottmail)

News Aggregators

  1. ARTNews
  2. Arts Desk
  3. Arts Journal
  4. Arts & Letters Daily
  5. Arts Management Network
  6. Arts Professional  
  7. Arts Research Monitor
  8. Associated Grant Makers
  9. Australian Stage
  10. Broadway Briefing (email only)
  11. Broadway Buzz
  12. Broadway Stars
  13. Grantmakers in the Arts - News
  14. Inside The Arts
  15. Musical America - News
  16. Newser - Entertainment
  17. Opera America - headlines
  18. Shoshana Fanizza's arts news aggregation page on Scoop.it
  19. Talk Entertainment
  20. TalkinBroadway - All That Chat
  21. Walker Art Center - Arts News from Elsewhere

Mainstream Media

  1. American Theatre – featured news
  2. American Theatre – contents of latest issue
  3. The Art Newspaper   
  4. Back Stage
  5. BBC News [UK] - Entertainment
  6. Billboard 
  7. Bloomberg News - Culture
  8. The Boston Globe – Theater & Arts
  9. Broadway World
  10. The Chicago Tribune - Entertainment
  11. The Christian Science Monitor
  12. The Chronicle of Philanthropy
  13. Crains New York Business
  14. The Daily Beast
  15. The Daily Telegraph [UK] - Arts
  16. Gigaom
  17. The Guardian [UK] - Arts
  18. The Huffington Post - Arts
  19. The Huffington Post - Entertainment
  20. The Independent - Theatre
  21. Los Angeles Times - Arts News & Reviews
  22. Marketplace (American Public Radio)
  23. Mashable
  24. Medium
  25. The Moscow Times – Arts & Ideas  
  26. New York magazine – Arts section
  27. New York Daily News - Entertainment
  28. The New York Observer - Culture
  29. New York Post - Michael Riedel theater column
  30. The New York Times - arts section
  31. The New Yorker – Culture section
  32. The New Yorker - Culture blog
  33. The Next Web
  34. NPR Arts & Culture
  35. The Observer [UK] - Review
  36. Opera America magazine
  37. The Paris Review
  38. Playbill
  39. Playbill Arts
  40. Reuters - Arts
  41. Salon - Arts
  42. Slate Magazine
  43. The Stage   
  44. Stage Directions magazine 
  45. The Stranger (Seattle alt newspaper) 
  46. Symphony Magazine (League of American Orchestras) 
  47. TheaterMania
  48. Time magazine - Entertainment 
  49. Time Out - music, arts & culture 
  50. Variety – Legit section 
  51. The Village Voice (NYC alt newspaper) 
  52. The Wall Street Journal - arts 
  53. The Washington Post - arts 


  1. Adaptistration 
  2. AFP Blog 
  3. Americans for the Arts Blog  
  4. Analysis from TRG Arts 
  5. The AndyGram 
  6. Art Threat 
  7. The Artful Manager – ArtsJournal blog   
  8. ArtsBeat - New York Times Blog 
  9. ArtsFwd  
  10. ArtsMarketing blog 
  11. Audience Development Specialists Blog 
  12. The Awl - Be less stupid 
  13. Barry's Blog - WESTAF   
  14. Beth's Blog (How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media) 
  15. BigThink   
  16. Bitter Lemons 
  17. Blouin Artinfo - Theater 
  18. Brand in your Hand 
  19. Butts In The Seats – Inside The Arts   
  20. Capacity Interactive blog  
  21. Care2 blog 
  22. The Clyde Fitch Report 
  23. Rebecca Coleman blog   
  24. Company Town - Los Angeles Times blog  
  25. The Craptacular 
  26. Createquity 
  27. Creative Infrastructure 
  28. Culture Monster - Los Angeles Times   
  29. Culture Professionals Network – The Guardian 
  30. Culture Scout blog   
  31. Culturebot
  32. CultureGrrl – ArtsJournal blog  
  33. Culturist blog - WNYC  
  34. Deadline - Jeremy Gerard  
  35. Digital Stats 
  36. Economists Talk Art 
  37. Extra Criticum 
  38. Field Notes
  39. Flavorwire 
  40. Fluxx blog 
  41. Fractured Atlas blog 
  42. Frank Rizzo blog 
  43. From The Green Room (Dance-USA's e-Journal) 
  44. Future of Storytelling | Blog   
  45. Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation » Arts 
  46. Good – culture blog    
  47. The Grio - African American News and Opinion
  48. The Guardian Theatre blog    
  49. The Guardian Dance blog 
  50. Howard Sherman blog 
  51. HowlRound blog 
  52. HowlRound journal
  53. Hyperallergic   
  54. Iconowatch 
  55. Inside Philanthropy - Theater 
  56. Inside Philanthropy - Dance 
  57. Inside Philanthropy - Music 
  58. Inside Philanthropy - Arts Ed & Community 
  59. IP Legal Freebies Blog
  60. Jumper (Diane Ragsdale) – ArtsJournal blog    
  61. Knight Arts blog   
  62. Know Your Own Bone  
  63. La Piana Consulting blog
  64. Lies Like Truth – ArtsJournal blog 
  65. MinnesotaPlaylist e-zine 
  66. Mental Floss e-zine   
  67. The Mission Paradox Blog 
  68. Museum 2.0    
  69. Musical America blogs
  70. NEA Art Works blog  
  71. New Music Box   
  72. Nonprofit Hub   
  73. Nonprofit Law Blog 
  74. Non-Profit Marketing Blog 
  75. The Nonprofit Quarterly   
  76. Nonprofit Tech for Good 
  77. The Nonprofit Times    
  78. NTEN Connect blog 
  79. Open Culture blog
  80. Orchestra Management blog   
  81. Oregon ArtsWatch 
  82. Parabasis  
  83. Parterre Box 
  84. Philanthropy 2173 
  85. PostClassic – ArtsJournal blog 
  86. The Producer's Perspective
  87. PSFK - Inspiring Creative Business 
  88. Real Clear Arts – ArtsJournal blog 
  89. Rhizome 
  90. Sandow – ArtsJournal blog
  91. Selling Out 
  92. Sequenza21
  93. Seth's Blog
  94. Shubert Ticket Notes
  95. Situation Interactive blog
  96. Slipped Disc  
  97. Speakeasy blog - The Wall Street Journal
  98. TCG Circle 
  99. TDF - Theatre Development Fund
  100. Technology in the Arts
  101. Theatre Marketing Insights
  102. Theaterwords 
  103. ThinkProgress
  104. Think with Google
  105. Thinking Practice
  106. TicketNews 
  107. Ticketing Today
  108. UK Arts Marketing Association blog 
  109. The Wicked Stage
  110. WQXR Operavore blog
  111. Nonprofit With Balls 
  112. New York Theater 
  113. Classical Life

Orchestra Statistical Report (OSR) now open

Orchestra Statistical Report

The League's 2014-2015 OSR survey– now on the user-friendly DataArts platform– results in demonstrable benefits to participants and our field.

Apply now for Music Alive!

The League and New Music USA’s Music Alive program will fund five three-year composer-orchestra residencies. Applications due Sept 30!

Celebrate National Arts in Education Week!

September 5, 2016

Next week is National Arts in Education Week, September 11-17, 2016! Here are some suggestions for how orchestras and their supporters can be involved:

  1. Your Orchestra: is there a great arts education program your orchestra is involved with in schools or in partnership with schools? Maybe you have several! Between September 11-17, post your stories, videos, and photos on social media with the hashtags #artsed and #ArtsEdWeek. It’s a great way to remind your communities that your orchestra is involved with arts education. And if you remember to tag the League of American Orchestras (@OrchLeague on Twitter), we’ll be re-posting and re-Tweeting selected stories throughout the week.
  2. You, Your Friends, and Your Orchestra Family: Invite people from all over and from all walks of life to participate in the week-long celebration of arts education. What better way to do this than to share how arts education has left a lasting impression or impact – big or small – on your life? Maybe an early arts education experience has somehow led to or connects with what you do professionally today, or it has carried over to your personal life into a tradition you share with family or friends. Post your artsed story using #artsed #ArtsEdWeek and help us show that the reach of arts education is as great as the need for it.
  3. Looking for more resources? Remember the League maintains a whole host of Music Education information online, including talking points, advocacy tools, and the latest news on how the new education law will impact schools and students.

League Asks Congress to Protect Military Music-Making

September 7, 2016 (This is an update to our originally posted item from September 6, 2016)

The League and seventeen other national organizations endorsed a letter by Congressmen Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Walter B. Jones (D-NC) in opposition to proposed language in the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill that would limit military music ensembles. Joining in signing the letter were: Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Earlier this summer, the House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) that would limit the Defense Department from having military bands perform in an official capacity for certain entertainment purposes, such as dinners, dances, and social events. The Senate Appropriations bill does not contain a similar provision, and a final compromise bill has not yet been signed.

Although direct action on separate funding bills appears unlikely given timing constraints in an election year, the League wished to go on record in support of music in the military. The mission statement of the U.S. Army Band affirms the important role of military musicians to “instill in our soldiers the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and promote our national interests at home and abroad."

2017 Media Kit for advertisers now available

Reach high-level decision makers at orchestras across the United States and beyond. Reserve your space in Symphony magazine and The Hub now.

August 2016

August 2016
The Honorable Elijah E. CummingsLeague’s 71st Conference in Baltimore Attracts National Attention
With its timely focus on diversity, the League’s 71st National Conference attracted the notice of both politicians inside the Beltway and national news outlets. The Honorable Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative (MD-7), inspired us with his personal story in his closing plenary speech, challenging us to persevere in our efforts to make music accessible for all of America’s children. The opening plenary keynote speaker, Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, laid out the path to change, supporting his narrative with a strong focus on data. Watch more on our post-Conference site or visit The League in the News to see media coverage of the Conference.
Stirring Performance of “One Baltimore” Highlights Impact of Music

Hosted by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Conference began on a high note as members of the BSO’s OrchKids and Baltimore Symphony Youth Concert Orchestra jointly performed an exuberant rendition of Brian Prechtl’s moving work “One Baltimore,” composed as a “call for unity” in the wake of civic unrest following the death of Freddie Gray. A Baltimore Sun editorial covering the Conference emphasized the importance of orchestras’ educational initiatives, including the pioneering OrchKids program.
Jesse Rosen“A Pressing National Conversation”
“The Richness of Difference,” League President and CEO Jesse Rosen’s opening plenary remarks, introduced the first League of American Orchestras National Conference devoted to diversity. A full transcript is posted on our website, along with video footage of the plenary. Rosen was interviewed on radio station WWFM by A Tempo’s Rachel Katz about the motivation for this year’s ground-breaking Conference, and what future outcomes he envisions. Listen to the full interview here (League segment begins at 10:10).
Educational EquityTaking Action for Educational Equity
As this nation embarks on implementing the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), orchestras are taking action in their states and local communities to improve access to music education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Dr. Monique Chism reminded the League’s Conference audience that our nation’s highest poverty schools have the least access to arts education and joined Rep. Cummings in applauding the efforts by orchestras to speak up for a complete music education for all students. A special pre-Conference event brought orchestra leaders into Baltimore Public Schools to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s extraordinary OrchKids program in action. To learn more about how your action today can secure a better future for music education in the schools, see the League’s ESSA resource center. (Photo: Richard Lippenholz)
Ford Musician AwardsHonoring the Critical Work Musicians Do in their Communities
Five orchestra musicians received the League’s newly-launched Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service at the Conference: (left to right) Brian Prechtl, percussion, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (OrchKids); Shannon Orme, bass clarinet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Neighborhood Residency Initiative); Jeffrey Paul, Principal Oboe, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (Lakota Music Project); Beth Vandervennet, cello, Oakland Symphony (Music for Excellence Program [MUSE]); and Penny Anderson Brill, viola, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Music and Wellness Program). Delegates also had the opportunity to experience examples of the musicians' work and to hear from them directly in a Conference session. The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service is a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. Read the press release on this year’s awardees here. (Photo: Richard Lippenholz)
Essentials of Orchestra ManagementLeague’s Essentials of Orchestra Management Wraps in LA
Since its inception in 2000, over 400 emerging leaders have participated in the League’s Essentials of Orchestra Management, including many who now hold key leadership positions in orchestras. The ten-day residential seminar, a 360-degree look at the orchestra field, is packed with learning and networking opportunities. One highlight was a full day of sessions at Walt Disney Concert Hall featuring a Q&A with Los Angeles Philharmonic Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and panel discussions on “Service to the Field” and “Orchestras in the 21st Century.” Read the press release. (Photo: Caitlin Whealon)
Did You Know?
Check out the League’s Conference photo album on Facebook and Instagram!
The League is often called up for context on all things orchestra-related. For a peek at recent media coverage with a League focus, go to The League in the News on our website.
Three new people were appointed to the League’s Board of Directors, and Board officers were elected. See the announcement here.
Visit our dedicated resource center for detailed information about new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidance that spells out how to access exemptions for musical instruments. The League played a key leadership role in seeking solutions that would address urgent conservation concerns while also protecting international cultural activity.


Summer 2016

League of American Orchestras
July 29,  2016 facebook500.png  twitter2.png  yt_home.png?r=1407251763518
Notes from Linda Weisbruch, Outgoing Volunteer Council President

Linda WeisbruchWhere did this year go?  As we bid a fond farewell to 2015-16 fiscal year, here’s a quick look back at the Volunteer Council’s work these past twelve months!

Our eighteen members hailed from fifteen states representing all orchestra sizes from groups 1-8.  These dedicated volunteers committed their time, talent and treasure to the Volunteer Council and our mission to support volunteers nationwide.

In 2015-16, the Volunteer Council:

  • disseminated the League’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to all volunteers through Volunteer Notes, plus Annual Fund and other field communications
  • aligned the Volunteer Council mission statement* with the new League mission/vision statement
  • conducted a six-part series of Strategic Conversations for thirteen presidents/presidents-elect on governance, fundraising, and membership
  • created a new webinar, entitled “Gold Book – The Ultimate Resource,” a tutorial on how to create a stellar Gold Book submittal plus site navigation/utilization tips for the first time user
  • supported the League’s Conference theme of “The Richness of Difference” through Conference programming and field communications
As always, the Volunteer Council’s planning and execution of all volunteer constituency programming at the League’s 71st National Conference in Baltimore represented our most significant commitment (details follow in the Conference overview article). It was an extraordinary experience to work with the Baltimore Symphony Associates (BSA). Under the leadership of BSA President Sandy Feldman, these host volunteers set the “hospitality bar” at new heights. Each Associate made us welcome at every turn, demonstrating a most gracious can-do spirit for which the Volunteer Council is ever grateful!

A huge thank you to the many, many volunteers whose generosity lifted our 2016 Annual Fund contribution to $46,850 (including $2,350 raised during #GivingTuesday). We worked closely with League development staff to meet and exceed our $40,000 goal in a shortened fiscal year of only nine months. Our support is so critical for the League’s ability to expand and enhance its work with our beloved orchestras. It’s never too late to make a gift to keep the music playing! Visit the League’s online donation page. For more information, please contact Samara Ungar at 646 822 4008 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

It has been my honor to serve my fellow volunteers this past year as the Volunteer Council’s president. I send a special thank you to each and every symphony volunteer across the nation for your dedication to your orchestra family. I would also thank our Volunteer Council members for their outstanding accomplishments, and our League staff liaisons Samara Ungar and Caitlin Whealon for their ceaseless and expert support of the Council’s work.

Looking forward to seeing you in Detroit, June 6-8, 2017 … until then, my very best wishes for a successful 2016-17,

Linda Weisbruch
President 2015-16, Volunteer Council

*The League’s updated mission statement is: To advance the experience of orchestral music, support the people and organizations that create it, and champion the contributions they make to the health and vibrancy of communities. The Volunteer Council has aligned its mission statement to: The League of American Orchestras’ Volunteer Council leads, advocates, and champions volunteer organizations in their efforts to support their orchestras’ community outreach and civic partnerships to advance the experience of orchestral music.

2016 National Conference in Baltimore: Highlights
Jane Schwartz, Conference Committee Chair
Conference 2016
The 71st National Conference was held in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, home of the renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra led by Marin Alsop, from June 8 to June 11. The Conference explored “The Richness of Difference,” reflecting the major demographic changes shaping our country’s cultures and communities today. In concert with the full range of programming which the League provides delegates across the orchestra field, the Volunteer Council curated programming specifically for volunteers, including the presentation of 23 award-winning projects.

The traditional first evening ice-breakers, Dine Arounds, were held at several of Baltimore’s finest restaurants in the Inner Harbor. Groups of four and five spread out across the area for fine food, delightfully creative conversation, and a targeted discussion around what diversity meant to each participant.

Volunteer sessions opened on Thursday morning with a welcome message from Volunteer Council President Linda Weisbruch. Sandy Feldman, President of the Baltimore Symphony Associates (BSA) and Volunteer Council Conference liaison, also greeted the delegates and gave an insider’s glimpse into the Baltimore Symphony. Maureen Patton, both a BSA past president and Volunteer Council Sustainer, highlighted the many attractions of the “Charm City.” Spokane Symphony Associates was awarded the 2016 Classic Award for their Christmas Tree Elegance project.

Eight projects received the Gold Book Award of Excellence this year, including: Arkansas’s All Decked Out Playing Card Fundraiser; Augusta’s Cotillion’s 50th Anniversary; Charlotte’s Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour; Minnesota’s Perfect Square: Kinder Konzerts Commission, Premiere and Regular Season; Oklahoma City’s You’re Never Too Old to Start Over – The ESCCO Project; Quad Cities’ 100 Years, 100 Cellos; and Tyler’s Approach to Scrapbooking and Annual Jazz Spectacular. The Arkansas and Charlotte projects formed a panel entitled “Steal, Copy, Tweak” to showcase how Gold Book projects can be repurposed for the needs of different communities.

Our networking wine and cheese reception, entitled “Sip a Little, Learn A Lot,” featured Pratichi Shah, President and CEO of Flourish Talent Management. Pratichi led us in a lively conversation about diversity and why inclusion is so important for our symphonies.

Eleven projects were presented in the Roundtables session – a fast-paced expo format.  These included: Amarillo’s Symphony Kids; Augusta’s Backstage Guardian Angels; Baltimore’s Music Adventures; Charlotte’s Young Artist Competition; Kansas City’s The Sun, The Moon and The Stars Gala; Las Vegas’s Adopt-A-Musician; Madison’s Launching the John DeMain Award; Philadelphia’s Perfect Harmony; Spokane’s Christmas Tree Elegance and Bulletin Board. A “Fashion Forward Fundraising” panel included Dallas’s Fashion Notes, Las Vegas’s Runway Rhythms, and SW Florida’s 2015 Designer Showcase.

As always, our very enthusiastic delegates shared new ideas, challenges, and solutions with each other.  Conversation and discussion abounded throughout. Didn’t bring home what you needed? Wish you had been there?  We’ve got you covered – you can find all the PowerPoints, scripts, and handouts for each of the Volunteer Projects on the League’s website.

We closed with a preview of our destination for the 72nd Annual Conference – Detroit, June 6-8, 2017. Hope to see you there!

League of American Orchestras Conference Overview
BSO Orch Kids
The League of American Orchestras 71st National Conference welcomed nearly 1,000 orchestra managers, musicians, staff, trustees, and volunteers in Baltimore from June 9-11. The Conference focused on orchestra diversity and inclusion, featuring exceptional speakers in both plenary and elective sessions covering artistic innovation, creative fundraising, audience development, technology, financial stability, and more.

Hosted by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Conference kicked off with a performance by the Baltimore Youth Symphony Orchestra and members of the BSO’s OrchKids program, with the opening keynote speech by Earl Lewis, President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. See the video here. Other Conference highlights included a conducting master class with BSO Music Director Marin Alsop, social and networking events, and sessions built for all areas of orchestra management, including, but not limited to, executive directors, marketing and development staff, volunteers, artistic administration, and musicians.

Notable Closing Plenary speakers included DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist and Dr. Monique Chism, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs, OESE, U.S. Department of Education. Conference came to an inspiring close with an address by The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, U.S. Representative (MD-7). See his touching address here.

“Diversity, and in particular the place of race and ethnicity, is an urgent national issue, and the League must seize its role to focus attention and help orchestras find pathways, individually and collectively, to take action,” said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

For a full list of pre-Conference seminars, elective sessions, and plenary synopses, please visit the League’s post-Conference webpage.
A Letter from Incoming President, Debbie McKinney

Debbie McKinneyIt is such an honor to serve as President of the Volunteer Council this coming year. We are already beginning preparations for the League’s 2017 Conference in Detroit, June 6-8, 2017. While volunteers will gather at Conference again eleven months from now, there are lots of great resources available and several activities to reference and utilize in the meantime.

The League, as always, has been at the forefront of our orchestra universe – recognizing trends, reacting quickly and appropriately to re-educate all constituents to operate effectively and efficiently in an ever-changing landscape.

Resources are continuously being developed and enhanced for every constituency. For volunteers, much resides online from award-winning volunteer projects to best practice webinars about all facets of auxiliary management (www.americanorchestras.org/board-members-volunteers/volunteers).The Volunteer Council also offers mentoring services for nascent volunteer organizations and auxiliaries in stress, as well as one-on-one sounding board conversations for current leadership. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be connected with the appropriate person for your specific needs.

Two items for your immediate attention:
  • Gold Book:  the online site is “open for business” and awaiting your organization’s project submittals from this past fiscal year. Submit your volunteer organization’s project now for consideration to be presented at the 2017 Conference in Detroit.
    • All projects must be submitted in full by September 6 at goldbookonline.org and must have been completed between July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. Submission categories include: audience development/community engagement, communication/technology, education, fundraising, leadership/organizational structure, membership, and service projects.
    • Watch the Volunteer Council’s new webinar for tips and strategies on how to submit your best project below. For questions, please contact the League Volunteer Council liaison, Caitlin Whealon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 646 822 4083.
Gold Book Webinar
  • Strategic Conversations:  Please join me and Volunteer Council President-elect Becky Odland (Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra) for these in-depth conversations with your peers.
    • The series consists of six 60-minute calls on the following Tuesdays at 3:00pm EST: September 27, October 11, October 25, November 8, November 29, and December 13. Together, we will talk about governance, leadership development, member recruitment and retention, fundraising, and other topics. We will email agendas and resource materials to all participants in advance of each call, and minutes from the conversations will be distributed following each call.
    • To register for this Strategic Conversation, please complete the following online form no later than September 12, 2016. In order to ensure everyone can participate fully, we have limited space, so sign up early and join the conversation.  We look forward to sharing, learning, solving, and laughing with you!
    • Note: The tuition fee is $50 for this program – although if you sign up here, you will receive a 20% discount by using the discount code: VOLNOTES.
Looking forward to a wonderful year – wishing everyone great success for you, your members, your organization, and your entire orchestra family,

Debbie McKinney
President, 2016-17