May 2015

May 2015
Women on the Podium
Interviewing conductors, journalists, and musicians, Stephen Hegg delved closely into the complex issue of gender and conducting in a story on Tacoma WA’s KTCS TV. Of Sarah Ioannides’s recent appointment as principal conductor and music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, music critic Melinda Bargreen says, “It’s tearing down some of those old cultural stereotypes.” Watch more here.
Tod Machover at The Henry Ford museum, recording the kitchen sink engine.
Photo Credit: Corinne Wiseman
A Season of Premieres

Orchestras large and small are displaying a strong commitment to new music in the 2015-16 season, many with a home-grown focus. Ten American composers are writing works for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s celebratory 100 th season. In Detroit, works by six American composers will receive premieres, including Tod Machover’s “Symphony in D,” highlighting sound submissions from the people of Detroit. Click here for a compilation of many 2015-16 season overviews from The Hub, and explore more about new music commissioning in Symphony.
Harpist Doug Rioth
Photo Credit: Stefan Cohen
In San Francisco, Backstage Rehearsal Space Transforms into Sound Sculpture
Soundbox, the San Francisco Symphony’s new experimental music space, merges videos, socializing, intense electronics, and a diverse array of music. It’s like “a happening from the ’60s, with videos on big screens and sound sculpture,” says KQED Radio correspondent Cy Musiker.The giant converted backstage rehearsal room is equipped with 50-foot ceilings, cocktails, floor cushions, and "a network of 25 microphones and 85 speakers tucked away above our heads."  And it’s attracting a whole new audience, many attending for the experience of the venue, itself, according to music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Pete Checchia
Philadelphia Orchestra
Orchestras Respond to New Audience Preferences
More opportunities to socialize; establishing closer connections to musicians; a more interactive experience… there are many ways in which orchestras are reinvigorating the traditional concert experience in the wake of new audience preferences, says League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. A recent interview on Philadelphia radio station WRTI with reporter Meridee Duddleston touches upon trends in audience development and orchestra innovation. Listen here.
Urging Congress to #Act4Good

Orchestras are joining the full array of nonprofit organizations such as Feeding America and the United Way of the USA in asking Congress to #Act4Good by making permanent charitable giving incentives that expired at the end of 2014. Pictured left, Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda speaks with House Ways and Means Committee Member Representative Xavier Becerra, just before he was to be honored by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials reception on February 19.  Visit the League’s tax policy advocacy center to add your voice to this effort to restore the IRA Charitable Rollover and other giving incentives.
Changing Lives Through Music

“YOSA changes kids’ lives through music here in San Antonio,” music director Troy Peters says. “We work with hundreds of kids throughout the city on unleashing their own musical potential… Music is a remarkable tool for learning.” Watch a video spotlighting Youth Orchestra of San Antonio here.
What next practices will orchestras embrace to be an increasingly vital part of America’s cultural and civic landscape in the years to come? Join us for the League’s Conference In Cleveland, May 27-29! We’ll explore this question from a variety of perspectives – artistic, financial, technological, and more. More information here.
Did you know? The League has launched The Orchestra Governance Center, offering a comprehensive range of support, strategies, and programs designed to strengthen governance practice in orchestras.  Newly developed regional seminars for board chairs, orchestra CEOs, and development staff, such as those recently presented by the League in Cleveland and New York City, are a cornerstone of the Center's activities. Check here for more on The Governance Center.
Just announced: Building an Effective Fundraising Board, a seminar on July 16, 2015 at LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Join nationally renowned board development expert Chuck Loring as he leads discussion on the ways and means of best to unlock board members’ fundraising potential. Register here


Volunteer Notes, Spring 2015

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Volunteer Notes Spring Issue 2015
Mission - The Volunteer Council in partnership with the League of American Orchestras strives to lead, advocate, encourage, support and serve our member orchestras and their volunteers.
In this issue:

Notes from Margarita Contreni, Volunteer Council President
Dear colleagues,
I would like to invite you to recommend an outstanding volunteer leader from your orchestra association to serve on the League of American Orchestras' Volunteer Council. 
Representing orchestras of all sizes and from cities across the country, the Volunteer Council includes recognized leaders who monitor critical volunteer issues for the League and who provide educational programming, networking, and leadership development opportunities for all volunteers through the following services:
  • Volunteer-specific sessions at the League’s National Conference each year.
  • Gold Book, a free and searchable database of tried-and-tested volunteer projects.
  • Webinars, complimentary online training for volunteers on fundraising, strategic planning, leadership, recruitment, and social media (to be released in spring of 2015).
  • Volunteer Notes, a quarterly newsletter with information tailored for volunteers.
  • Strategic Conversations, an annual conference call series with seasoned facilitators for volunteer association presidents and president-elects.
  • Mentoring program, complimentary one-on-one support and guidance by a former Volunteer Council member.
  • More information on the Volunteer Council can be found in the Volunteer Council brochure.
Council members serve a three-year, renewable, term and attend two meetings and the League’s National Conference each year. For additional information on membership criteria and responsibilities or to make a recommendation, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   
“Without the many volunteers who add such richness and depth to the symphony family, we could never do half of what we would like to do,” said Nicholas Palmer, the music director of my orchestra, the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra. ‘Richness’ and ‘depth’ certainly reflect the talent, experience, and impact of the League of American Orchestras' Volunteer Council on the national symphonic volunteer scene. Volunteer Council members and the orchestras whose volunteer organizations they represent are listed below. Thank you!
  Volunteer Council Members, League of American Orchestras, Seattle, June 2014
Front Row (left to right): Helen Shaffer, Houston Symphony; Laura Hyde, East Texas Symphony Orchestra; Margarita Contreni, Layfayette Symphony Orchestra; Linda Weisbruch, Charlotte Symphony.
Second Row (left to right): Camille Williams, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; Judy Christl, Milwaukee Symphony, Becky Odland, Minnesota Orchestra; Jane Schwartz, Symphony Orchestra Augusta; Iris Harvie, Cleveland Orchestra; Elaine Cousins, Illinois Symphony Orchestra.                                          
Back Row (left to right): Nancy Greenbach, San Francisco Symphony; Debbie McKinney, Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Beth Wise, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra; Mike Minor, Kansas City Symphony; Samara Ungar, League of American Orchestras; Marylou Turner, Kansas City Symphony; Linda Stevens, Seattle Symphony; Terry Ann White, Amarillo Symphony; Tiffany Ammerman, Marshall Symphony.                                                                       
Missing: Jane Van Dyk, Billings Symphony; Tresa Radermacher, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra; Laura Street, Amarillo Symphony.

League of American Orchestras' National Conference, May 27-29, 2015
You don’t want to miss the League of American Orchestras' 2015 National Conference in Cleveland! During the conference there will be many exciting projects presented, offering a roadmap of information for you to take back to your volunteer group and help them increase membership, find leaders within your membership, engage the community, and raise money joyfully! 
Here is a quick look at what's on the volunteer-track agenda for the three days of Conference:
A Dine-Around starts the week*. Volunteers will gather together for dinner at a well-known Cleveland restaurant, attend a cooking demonstration, dine on farm-to-table cuisine and meet volunteers throughout the country.
*Please note that the Dine-Around is on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, the night prior to the start of the conference. 
Day one of Conference includes seven Gold Book Awards of Excellence presentations in two interactive sessions. Panel members from Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Houston will present Celebrating Milestones, offering unique and fantastic ideas to help you plan your next milestone celebration. The afternoon will provide an opportunity to attend Roundtable expo-style sessions. This year, twelve Roundtables will be presented, including two hosted by the Volunteer Council where we will share an exciting new webinar and other services provided to assist your volunteer organization. See Roundtables, 2015 Cleveland Conference article, below, for additional information on this year’s Roundtables.
Day two will offer three more Gold Book Awards of Excellence presentations. Looking for new ideas to raise money and train leaders for next year? These dynamic presentations will include information on developing a training program for onboarding new members and implementing a fundraiser that requires very few volunteers while increasing profits.  Next, Scouting and Symphony: A Partnership, a highly participatory workshop will prepare you to conduct an engaging and fun Girl Scout musician award program in your community.
On day three play a board game, allowing you to compete and win prizes while learning about new ideas to increase membership and to develop and mentor leaders for your organization now and for years to come! The game will segue into the Volunteer Networking Luncheon featuring speaker, Susan Howlett.  Ms. Howlett is well known for strengthening non-profits and simplifying everything, thereby making it achievable. Conference attendees have found that one time with Susan was like walking out of the woods into a clearing. Susan will be talking about how to recruit volunteers and successfully develop them into leaders for your organization. 
Remember – the 2015 League of American Orchestras' Conference dates are Wednesday, May 27 through Friday, May 29, 2015.  Registration is now open on the League’s Conference website (early-bird registration closes on Friday, April 17).  The Conference will be held at the newly renovated Cleveland Convention Center, with The Westin Cleveland Downtown and the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center serving as the Conference hotels.
We look forward to seeing you there! 
Airfare discount - United Airlines is pleased to offer special discounts on flights to Cleveland for the League of American Orchestras' National Conference.
You may book online at www.united.com and enter code ZUGE410936 in the offer code box when searching for your flights.  If booking through a travel professional or United Meetings at 800 426 1122, please give them the following information:      
Agreement Code: 410936                                                                                                               
Z Code: ZUGE
Outside the United States, please call your local United Airlines Reservation Office.

Roundtables, 2015 Cleveland Conference
There will be twelve fantastic Roundtables offered in Cleveland this year!  During the expo-style Roundtable session, Conference attendees can choose to view Roundtable presentations that may provide a new idea for their organization or a face-lift to an existing project. 
This year’s Roundtables will address the following and more…
  • Have a fairly new young artist music competition and are interested in longevity? See how a successful competition continues to thrive and evolve.
  • Looking for ways to utilize your past presidents and award scholarships to your local talented musicians? Learn from a group that has been doing this successfully for 14 years.
  • Does it seem as if your organization is competing with so many entertainment opportunities for your city? We know a group that is ready to share how to be creative and successful with a mini-fundraiser while introducing its orchestra and guild in an informal and entertaining way.
  • Find out how a struggling organization masterminded a quick and creative way to raise funds by holding a non-event.
Roundtables are a quick and efficient opportunity to learn about successful fundraising, community engagement, education, and membership projects from across the country! This year’s Roundtable projects/presenters are:
  1. Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition – Houston Symphony League;
  2. (HSO) Guild’s Past Presidents’ Fund Committee – Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild;
  3. Kansas City Symphony Alliance Designer Showhouse and Massive Wine Raffle – Kansas City Symphony Alliance;
  4. Martini Monday Musicales & Winey Wednesdays – Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild;
  5. Symphonic Turquoise Bracelet  - Oklahoma City Orchestras League, Inc.;
  6. Volunteer Council Services and Membership – Volunteer Council Members;
  7. Table Art 2014 Featuring Designer Michael Aram - Omaha Symphony Guild;
  8. No-Cost Fundraising (and Fun-raising) Program – Plano Symphony Orchestra Guild;
  9. Webinars offered by Volunteer Council and other online League of American Orchestras resources;
  10. SVL’s 12th Annual Game Day “SPRING” for the Symphony - Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco  Symphony;
  11. A Ride on a Magic Carpet - Southwest Florida Symphony Society; and
  12. We Just Made 10 - A Decade of Musical Memories – Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild.

League of American Orchestras Launches Orchestra Governance Center                          
Seven Orchestras Receive 2014-15 Governance Center Grants
The League has launched an Orchestra Governance Center, offering a comprehensive range of support, strategies, and programs designed to strengthen governance practice in orchestras. Newly developed regional seminars for board chairs, orchestra CEOs, and development staff, such as those recently presented in Cleveland and New York City, are a cornerstone of the Center’s activities. Additional seminars will be announced soon.
As part of the Governance Center, seven orchestra boards of directors – Albany Symphony (NY); Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale (MT); Jackson Symphony Association (TN); Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra Society (HI); Music in the Mountains (CA); Symphony of Northwest Arkansas; and Wichita Symphony Orchestra (KS) – will receive 2014-15 Orchestra Governance Center Grants. The grants help boards analyze strengths and weaknesses, roles and responsibilities, and priorities for board development.
Orchestra Governance Center resources include regional seminars for board members and CEOs; orchestra board chair peer groups focusing on top-level governance and strategic challenges; peer exchange and learning sessions at the League’s Conference; web-based assessment tools; free eBooks from BoardSource; and free webinars for trustees and orchestra staff. Further Governance Center materials include a Diversity and Inclusion Resource Center, a Public Value Communications Toolkit, an Orchestra Story Bank, and Online Discussion Groups.
Click here for more on The Governance Center.

Helen Shaffer, former Volunteer Council President, Honored
Out of the blue, Helen Shaffer, former League of American Orchestras’ Volunteer Council President, received a phone call asking her to be a “Houston Treasure” for the 2015 Houston  Social Book. The Social Book is an inventory of social events which occur during the year in Houston. Organizations purchase a copy for $320, to check and compare dates, so as not to duplicate several benefits on the same night. Each year, twelve local individuals and/or couples in the fields of philanthropy, volunteerism, medicine, arts, business, sports, politics and media are chosen to be “Houston Treasures.”  An individual photograph of each “Treasure” serves as a divider for each month and biographical information is found following the photograph. "Receiving this honor was not only humbling, but quite a surprise," Helen said. 
Helen was delighted to accept the invitation to attend the announcement party which was held at the Royal Sonesta on December 7, 2014. Although the invitations were limited, approximately 250 were in attendance to hear the announcement and introduction of the 2015 “Treasures.”  Each honoree was presented with a variety of gifts provided by grateful vendors throughout the city. Helen, in the company of her husband, Jim, also attended the roll out of the Social Book on January 22, 2015, at the Hilton Americas, where caterers from throughout Houston provided a spectacular array of food. Representatives were present from every type of business providing services for special activities that occur throughout the city. In these ways, Houston’s business community lavishly honored the community’s volunteers.
Although Helen was surprised, it came as no surprise to us why Helen was selected for this elite group. Her resume includes: board member of the League of American Orchestras and past president of its Volunteer Council, executive committee of the Houston Symphony, executive member of the Houston Public Media Foundation, trustee of the Houston Grand Opera, advisor for the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras, as well as past president of the Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers.
Helenpic1.jpgHelen is pictured here at a Social Book event with her husband, Jim, who as she says, “makes it all possible."
In addition to being a Houston Treasure, Helen will receive "The Volunteer Award" on April 10, 2015 at the Annual Conference of the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras in San Antonio, TX. She is being recognized for her outstanding service, support, and promotion of the interests and growth of symphony orchestras, and as a person who served above and beyond her volunteer role.
The Volunteer Council salutes and congratulates Helen on her well-deserved awards!

Volunteer Council 2015 Campaign
Dear Volunteers,
The Volunteer Council thanks you for the wonderful contribution you make to your orchestra through your dedicated work. This commitment helps keep orchestral music vibrant and thriving in your community.
We are thankful for the wide-ranging support we have received through the Volunteer Council fundraising campaigns. These donations allow the League of American Orchestras to continue their work in research; advocacy; and education programs, such as the Essentials of Orchestra Management, Emerging Leaders Program, and Governance Center programming, for the field.
This year the Council has set a goal to raise $40,000. We hope you will join us and make a gift to this wonderful campaign.  We are a little over half way to this goal! To make a gift, please visit the online donation page or mail a check to Natalie Kimball, manager of the annual fund, League of American Orchestras, 33 West 60th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023.
Many important activities happen at the League's National Conference and throughout the year. This would not be possible without the generosity of its donors. The League exists solely to support all of us – volunteers, staff, musicians, conductors, composers, and board members – and it provides us with the necessary resources to be most effective together.
Thank you for working to forge a strong, sustainable future for our orchestras and for your consideration of this request.
With great appreciation,                                                                                                                                          
Laura Hyde, immediate past president, and Margarita Contreni, president, Volunteer Council

Contact Congress on March 24, National Arts Advocacy Day 2015

March 23, 2015

Tomorrow is National Arts Advocacy Day, a unique moment for arts advocates across the country to speak up in support of the arts together! The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra will be part of this year's Arts Advocacy Day events, performing at the Kennedy Center as part of the Nancy Hanks lecture on public policy and the arts, as well as small ASYO ensembles performing at advocate training and at the Congressional Kick-Off event that begins official Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

The League of American Orchestras is a long-time national co-sponsor of Arts Advocacy Day and part of its legislative planning committee which creates the requests and key talking points for arts advocates, whether they come to the nation's capital or participate from home throughout the year. Whether you are an advocate coming to DC or showing support for the arts at home, mark your calendar, spread the word, and take just a few moments tomorrow to contact your Senators and Representative on the issues that matter most to you!
1) Write to Congress on March 24
Choose any of our policy issues that impact orchestras, such as strengthening arts in education in our nation's schools, protecting charitable giving incentives, improving the visa policy for engaging foreign guest artists, easing travel with musical instruments, and supporting the capacity for the National Endowment for the Arts to expand public access to great art. The League has prepared emails to Congress for you - just customize with a couple of details from home and click "Send Message." When multiple constituents contact their elected officials on a particular topic, we know they take notice, so be sure they hear about the impact national policies have on your local community!
Use our NEW AND IMPROVED advocacy center! Our streamlined campaigns connect to all elected officials' webforms, and participating takes just moments!

2) Plan now to engage with Congress in your home state
The most powerful advocacy happens in person, so take some time to maintain relationships throughout the year. View our 2015 Calendar of Advocacy Opportunities to see when your U.S. Representative or Senators are in their districts and states for a work period: invite them and their staff to meet, attend an event, and see powerful community programs in action.

3) Share!
Information about your contacts with members of Congress helps the League represent orchestras in Washington, D.C. We would love to hear your stories and we are happy to help in any way, so don't hesitate to contact the League with any questions. Thank you for joining advocates nationwide in support of the arts on Arts Advocacy Day and every day!

Take Action!

San Diego Youth Symphony And Conservatory: Community Opus

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.

This video describes the program’s growth, and the impact it has had.


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Stockton Symphony: Resolving Conflict Through Music

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.


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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Health and Wellness

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.


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Orchestra Testifies Before Congress, and More Policy Updates

March 18, 2015

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President Urges U.S. Congress to Support FY16 NEA Funding

Washington, D.C. - Today Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President & CEO Melia Tourangeau testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to call for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Speaking on behalf of both the orchestra and opera fields, Ms. Tourangeau described the local impact of federal arts funding, saying, "The NEA grants competitively awarded to our organization have inspired and enabled us to create unique an enduring works, generate new community partnerships, and boost the civic vitality of our community." Today's hearing marks the beginning of Congressional consideration of the NEA's FY16 funding level. NEA grants to more than 116 orchestras in the most recent funding cycle support arts education for children and adults, expand public access to performances, preserve great classical works, and nurture the creative endeavors of contemporary classical musicians, composers, and conductors. A webcast of the hearing is available on the House Appropriations Committee website, and the written testimony is posted online as well.

Speak Up for the NEA on Behalf of Your Orchestra

Friendlier Skies for Musicians

New rules requiring airlines to accept musical instruments on flights are now officially in effect!  As of March 6, airlines are required to comply with musical instrument rules enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Details on how these policy improvements came about and what they mean for traveling musicians are in "Friendlier Skies for Musicians," an article appearing in the spring issue of the League's SYMPHONY magazine. Major airlines continue to consider how to implement the new rules and are just beginning to train front-line flight crews and agents. See our up-to-date tips for how to navigate the new environment for air travel, and stay tuned! The League is working in partnership with the American Federation of Musicians and other national music organizations to craft ongoing guidance for traveling musicians.
Visit the League's Aviation Information Center

Extended Tax Debates Roll On

Despite a clear record of growing bipartisan support for immediately reinstating charitable giving incentives that expired last year, the fate of the IRA Charitable Rollover in 2015 remains uncertain. On February 12, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 279-137 in favor of reinstating and making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover and the tax deductibility of donations of food inventory and land conservation easements, all of which expired at the end of 2014. Whether the measure moves forward soon or languishes to face another short-term extension at year's end depends upon how motivated the Administration and Congressional leaders are to put aside partisan disagreements over paying for the measure. Orchestras continue to speak up, joining the broader nonprofit community to describe the urgent need to reactivate policies that result in new and increased charitable giving.
Tell Congress Why Charitable Giving Matters

Speak Up for Music Education

Hundreds of orchestra advocates across the U.S. have weighed in with Congress, asking policy leaders to address extreme inequities in access to arts education in our nation's schools. The Senate is drafting a fresh proposal to re-write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and the House has suspended consideration of its bill - HR 5 - amid disagreements within House majority members about how to shape the federal government's role in public education.  This means the next few months present a great opportunity to make your voice heard as lawmakers consider big questions, like: How do we define core subjects of learning? What is the future of funding for afterschool and out of school learning time? What expectations should be set for states to publicly account for student access to arts education in schools? While the debates continue in D.C., your local schools and states are also making policy decisions that will impact the future of the arts in your community. Visit our Music Education policy center to learn how to stay engaged to support music education at home, and keep those letters coming to Congress!
Visit the League's Education Policy Information Center



Seattle Symphony: Community Connections Project

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.


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Allentown Symphony: El Sistema Lehigh Valley

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.


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Vermont Symphony Orchestra: Driving Economic Activity

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.


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