Join us in Cleveland for Conference 2015!

Register now for the League’s Annual Conference—May 27-29 in Cleveland, OH! Visit our Conference 2015 website for more information.

NEA FY16 Grant Application Deadlines and Guidelines Now Posted

January 7, 2015

The League has prepared specialized tips to help orchestras navigate the new FY16 National Endowment for the Arts guidelines. Grant application deadlines are earlier than usual, and the NEA has created a new grant opportunity.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the NEA in 2015, and the National Park Service's (NPS) Centennial in 2016, the two agencies are working together to encourage the creation of and greater public engagement with art relating to the work and mission of our national park system. Interested applicants might consider projects commissioning and presenting new work in or adjacent to a national park, performances, or festivals in these settings, for example. Applicants also may consider NPS-managed trails, rivers, designated landmarks, historic sites, and heritage areas as sites of activity in a project proposal. Collaborative partnerships with the selected park area or program are strongly encouraged. For a project being proposed within a national park, applicants must first consult with the appropriate NPS official. See "NEA-NPS Funding Collaboration" for more details, and note that this opportunity is subject to the single application rule.

The NEA's FY16 Application deadlines are February 19, 2015 for Art Works, Part 1; July 23, 2015 for Art Works Part 2; and April 15, 2015 for Challenge America.

Read the League's Customized Tips for Orchestras Preparing an FY16 Application          


Free eBook! Building the Governance Partnership

Learn how to get the best from your board with our new BoardSource eBook Building the Governance Partnership. Offered free to League members!

Final Rules for Musical Instrument Air Travel Released by USDOT

December 31, 2014

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued final regulations to improve travel by air with musical instruments. The rules become effective within 60 days of being published and require major airlines to update their policies and practices.  This action comes nearly three years after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act was signed into law, including a section mandating improved airline policies for musicians traveling with their instruments.

This major policy development is the result of intense and prolonged advocacy efforts by the music community, reinforced by dozens of Congressional leaders, including Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).

The new rules require airlines to adequately accommodate musical instruments in their formal policies for checked and carry-on baggage, and to ensure that front-line airline personnel consistently apply the policies. The next crucial step will be for the airlines to adopt new policies, make them publicly accessible, and thoroughly train airline personnel. The League continues to partner closely with the American Federation of Musicians, Chamber Music America, the Recording Academy, the Performing Arts Alliance, and other national music organizations in conversation with senior USDOT and aviation industry officials, advocating for swift implementation, and immediate relief for traveling musicians. 

As the airlines take action to implement the new rules, the League will update our online hub of resources to explain the impact on travel with musical instruments.

See the League’s Aviation Policy Guide for More Details!

New Case Study from the Wallace Foundation

Read about how the Minnesota Opera expanded its audience among women ages 35 to 60 in this new Wallace Foundation case study.

Check out the League's New Story Bank!

The League's online Story Bank showcases the powerful impact of orchestras through a changing array of videos, articles, and infographics.

Building an Effective Fundraising Board

Register now for the League's upcoming seminar, Building an Effective Fundraising Board, taking place January 24th and 25th in New York, New York!

Community Impact and Engagement: Orchestra Story Bank

This story bank is a resource to show the many ways in which orchestras serve communities, providing the first-hand perspective of musicians, families, and care-takers.

Through the power of music, collaboration, and collective action, orchestras serve the public in many ways. Just as the needs of one community differ greatly from those of another, each orchestra develops programs, partnerships, and performances that provide unique value to their community.

Utah Symphony, Mighty 5 Tour (Photo courtesy of Utah Symphony)

Revisit this page over time to see new examples of orchestras in action.


Partnering to Make Music with Diverse Communities:

Orchestras are reaching new audiences in unexpected ways, from collaborating with community service and educational organizations and removing cost barriers to participation to redefining the concert experience through the use of technology and other innovations.

Click on photos for more information. From left: Pacific Symphony (Photo courtesy of Pacific Symphony); Hartford Symphony, Musicians Care Project (Photo courtesy of Hartford Symphony); New World Symphony, “Encounters” concert (Photo: Rui Dias-Aidos)

Hartford Symphony

Hartford Symphony’s Musicians Care Project offers an in-facility program for the elderly and disabled. The Director of Dementia Care Services at Hebrew Health Care describes how music gives patients with dementia a way to connect.

Pacific Symphony

(Click to enlarge)

Ongoing programs delivered by the Pacific Symphony create meaningful musical experiences for more than 50,000 community members from over 300 organizations throughout Southern California. From 2011 through 2012 alone, the orchestra cultivated and maintained partnerships with nearly 140 organizations and schools.



Contributing to Strong, Healthy Communities:

Orchestras are a magnet for business, investment, and tourism, helping to revitalize neighborhoods and heal communities during times of adversity. Orchestra musicians, staff, and volunteers improve the quality of life for all through their active participation in civic life.

Click on photos for more information.From left: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra); Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Kids in Tune (Photo: Bethany Clay); Erie Philharmonic, Young Erie Professionals, Orchestras Feeding America (Photo: Courtesy of Erie Philharmonic)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Music therapists collaborate with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians to provide therapeutic, interactive events with live chamber music at hospitals in the Pittsburgh area. A music therapist from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC describes how music transforms and inspires a fifteen year old cancer patient.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

(Click to enlarge)

The everyday operation of an orchestra involves working with, in some cases, hundreds of vendors and businesses, driving economic activity. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra engaged more than 250 vendors between 2010-12 alone, and 174 of them are located right in the state of Vermont.



Engaging Participants in Lifelong Learning:

Orchestras provide lifelong musical experiences, engaging people of all ages. Studies increasingly show that creating, performing, and responding to music improves students’ success in school, work, and life. Whether a pre-schooler or senior, playing in an orchestra fosters discipline and teamwork, as well as individual skill and expression.

Click on photos for more information. From left: Allentown Symphony Orchestra, El Sistema Lehigh Valley (Photo: Nienke Izurieta, Nienke Izurieta Photography); San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, Musica! flyer; San Francisco Symphony, Community of Music Makers (Photo: Kristen Loken)

Allentown Symphony Orchestra

An after-school initiative helps underserved and special needs youth to develop life skills while participating in daily music instruction, large ensemble performances, and academic tutoring.  One parent explains how the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema Lehigh Valley program improves the academic and social outcomes for children.

San Diego Youth Symphony

By providing free after school music instruction through its Community Opus Project, the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory proved the benefits of learning music and convinced the Chula Vista Elementary School District, near the U.S./Mexico border, to reinstate its music program for its 29,000 students. A ten year old Opus student describes how her life has improved since entering the program.



Inspiring Listeners and Bridging Differences through Music:

Orchestral music is a living, creative art form that draws on musicians from all genres and artists from all disciplines. A growing body of new work reflects our time and place and can be a catalyst for important conversations.

Click on photos for more information. From left: Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Stage production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Also Pictured: choristers from Connecticut’s Joyful Noise ensemble, vocal soloists (Photo: Alan Grant); New York Philharmonic, Chinese New Year concert. Pictured: Yan Wang (Photo: Chris Lee); Native musicians from Seattle Symphony’s Native Lands Community Composition project (Photo: Seattle Symphony)
The Stockton Symphony

Photo courtesy of Stockton Symphony

A growing body of new work reflects our time and place, and can be a catalyst for important conversations.  The Stockton Symphony delivered an inspiring message about resolving conflict through music, described in this article in Symphony’s Summer 2012 issue.
Seattle Symphony

The Native Lands Community Composition project, part of Seattle Symphony’s Community Connections program, started with the desire to build cultural understanding and respect through music between the Seattle Symphony and tribal nations in the Puget Sound region. Seattle Symphony musicians, Native artists, and Seattle-based composer Janice Giteck collaborated to create the Potlatch Symphony.

The Orchestra Story Bank is made possible, in part, thanks to a generous grant from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.


Please address any questions about this rotating collection of examples to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Follow us on Facebook!

Connect with the League on Facebook!

House Votes on IRA Rollover this Week: Contact Congress Today!

July 15, 2014

This week presents a rare opportunity for a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on an issue of great importance to communities served by orchestras. On Thursday, your member of Congress will vote on H.R. 4719, a set of five charitable giving provisions, which includes reinstating and making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover.

The IRA Charitable Rollover has generated new and increased contributions to support the work that orchestras and other nonprofit organizations carry out in communities every day. The provision expired at the end of 2013, and permits donors age 70 and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000.

Join the broader nonprofit community in telling Congress to vote in support of reinstating this important giving incentive. Use the Leagues advocacy campaign link below to explain how private donations support the employment opportunities, inspiring concerts, educational programs, and artistic innovation that orchestras provide in communities across the country.

Write to Your Representative Today Urging Support for the IRA Charitable Rollover!