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Knowledge, Research and Innovation

Of and For the Community: The Education and Community Engagement Work of Orchestras

Click here to quickly download the report; minimal registration information is requested.  

Click here to download a press release about the report.


Orchestras’ ambitions to engage with communities, in ways that create new and distinctive opportunities for creative expression and connection, are growing.

In this time of widespread societal change, the education and engagement work undertaken by orchestras deserves dedicated attention, and so the League of American Orchestras is pleased to share a new report. Of and For the Community is the League’s first detailed report on the education and community engagement (EdCE) work of orchestras. Covering the period of 2009 to 2014, the report tells a story of growth on important measures:

  • The number of EdCE participants engaged
  • The racial/ethnic diversity of EdCE participants engaged
  • The number of EdCE concerts produced
  • The range of EdCE activity types undertaken
  • The extent of school and community partnerships developed
  • The number of staff hours dedicated to EdCE activity
  • Budget available for EdCE work, relative to the orchestra’s overall budget

Please go here to register (it’s quick and easy) to download Of and For the Community.

OSR: Orchestra Statistical Report

The League has been collecting data from the orchestral field since 1946, and its Orchestra Statistical Report (OSR) is the largest and most comprehensive orchestra data set in the United States. Only League members have the opportunity to contribute to – and use – this unique resource, which many rely on for planning, fundraising, management, and case making.

Please contact the League’s Knowledge Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to find out how your orchestra can access and benefit from the OSR.

Building Audiences for the Arts: Research from The Wallace Foundation

The Wallace Foundation supports audience-building efforts by arts organizations and commissions research to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why.

Among Wallace’s initiatives is its six-year, $52 million Building Audiences for Sustainability program, which is developing insights into how arts groups in multiple genres can achieve and sustain audience gains. Learn more about Wallace’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative. 

Here’s a look at studies, articles, webinars, and more resources from The Wallace Foundation—with information that any orchestra can use to build audiences.

World Music/CRASHarts Tests New Format and Name To Draw New Audiences

How does an arts presenter increase name recognition and attract younger audiences? An article and video from The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative show how the Boston-based World Music/CRASHarts built loyalty and name recognition among younger audiences by creating a new annual festival, rebranding, and using creative marketing techniques to encourage repeat attendance during its regular season.




Read The Wallace Foundation article here.

Watch the video here.

Think Opera’s Not for You? Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Says Think Again

How can performing arts groups use market research to develop programs that appeal to new audiences? A just-released study and video from The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative show how the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis used market research to understand and reach new audiences—with lessons that orchestras can apply. The report and video track how the opera company deployed intel from market research to close the perception gap to reach younger, more diverse audiences and to refine activities designed to build audiences for the long term.




Read The Wallace Foundation article here. 

Watch the video here.

Read The Audience Journey—three new blog posts incorporating data from 
The Wallace Foundation

Three new blog posts by noted arts writer Judith H. Dobrzynski outline The Audience Journey, a conceptualization of the decision-making process of potential audience members. The posts, written for American for the Arts' Optimizing Your Arts Marketing Practice blog salon, incorporate data from The Wallace Foundation's Building Audiences for Sustainability program. The posts suggest ways organizations might engage people who are less inclined to attend or visit; cover how to combat the practical barriers of attending; and discuss how to create a rewarding experience that makes people want to return.

Find the first blog post here. (Two additional links at bottom of the blog post)

wallace_blogPhoto courtesy of The Wallace Foundation


Celebrating community at the Fleisher Arts Memorial
(photo by Gustavo Garcia, Colibri Workshop, from The Wallace Foundation’s blog).

Research and Self-Reflection Help Strengthen Community Ties
(Post by Bob Harlow from
The Wallace Foundation's blog)

Find great ideas applicable to orchestras in this blog post by market-research expert Bob Harlow about how the Fleisher Art Memorial connected with newly-arrived young immigrants in its South Philadelphia neighborhood.

View the Wallace Foundation's blog post here.

Understanding Audiences, Building Connections: How the Seattle Symphony Uses Market Research

Downtown Seattle is changing rapidly, with new residents, new buildings, and new affluence. To connect with the newcomers, the Seattle Symphony launched a wide-ranging audience-research program, with support from the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative. An in-depth article in the new issue of Symphony magazine and a documentary video reveal how the Seattle Symphony experimented with innovative concert formats, focus groups, and audience surveys to yield fresh insights and rising ticket sales.

Check out the Symphony article, our new webinar, and the video via the links below. Then, use the Discussion Guide from the League to spark your thinking about market research and adaptation—and to spur group conversations about what might work at your own orchestra.


The Seattle Symphony, Market Research, and NUCCs. NUCCs?

The population of downtown Seattle is changing at twice the rate of the city’s overall population, and the Seattle Symphony was eager to understand these previously untapped audiences. To pinpoint the “new urban cultural consumers”—NUCCs—moving into a newly energized, burgeoning downtown, the Seattle Symphony launched an ambitious market-research program. How did they do it?

Read the Symphony article here.


Connecting with New Audiences: A Wallace-Supported Webinar

Featuring Seattle Symphony Orchestra's Charlie Wade, senior vice president for marketing and business operations, this on-demand webinar consolidates learning that took place at the League’s 2018 National Conference. Learn how the Seattle Symphony conducted focus groups, discovered the preferences of new and seasoned symphony visitors, and experimented with programming—all while maintaining core artistic principles. No matter the size of your orchestra, the discussion points highlighted here are a great starting point for conversations with your orchestra’s team around marketing initiatives, market research, and audience building.

Watch the webinar here.


Can the City's Boom Mean New Audiences for the Seattle Symphony?

In line with the community’s spirit of innovation, Seattle Symphony is using audience research to help target and woo recent transplants.

Watch the video and read the Wallace Foundation article here.



Discussion Guide: Can the City’s Boom Mean New Audiences for The Seattle Symphony?

This guide, created by the League of American Orchestras, explores preliminary insights from the Seattle Symphony’s audience-research efforts as part of the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative. Use it to better understand lessons from the Seattle Symphony’s research project—and how to adapt and apply them to your own orchestra, no matter its budget size.

Read and download the Discussion Guide here.

Read and download the black-and-white (for easier printing) Discussion Guide here.

#Hashtag Orchestra

How can orchestras attract—and keep—millennial audiences? Experimentation abounds.

Download the Symphony article here.

Building Millennial Audiences: Barriers and Opportunities

Arts organizations could help attract millennials by clarifying pricing and better explaining the value of the arts, suggests this Wallace-commissioned synthesis of market research.

Download the presentation here.

Taking Out the Guesswork: A Guide to Using Research to Build Arts Audiences

Market research expert Bob Harlow shows how arts organizations can use qualitative and quantitative research to attract and retain new audiences.

Watch the webinar.

View the PowerPoint presentation here.

Download the guide here.

The Road to Results ; Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences

The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences

This report identifies and examines nine practices of arts organizations that successfully expanded their audiences.

Watch the webinar here.

 Additional Wallace Case Studies

Converting Family into Fans: a Case Study     Opening New Doors: A Case Study        
Converting Family into Fans:
How the Contemporary
Jewish Museum Expanded
its Reach
    Opening New Doors: Hands-On Participation Brings a New Audience to The Clay Studio     Getting Past “It’s Not For People Like Us”: Pacific Northwest Ballet Builds a Following with Teens and Young Adults     Extending Reach with Technology: Seattle Opera’s Multipronged Experiment to Deepen Relationships and Reach New Audiences
        Cultivating the Next Generation of Art Lovers    
Someone Who Speaks Their Language: How a Nontraditional Partner Brought New Audiences to Minnesota Opera     More Than Just a Party: How the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boosted Participation by Young Adults     Cultivating the Next Generation of Art Lovers: How Boston Lyric Opera Sought to Create Greater Opportunities for Families to Attend Opera     Building Deeper Relationships: How Steppenwolf Theatre Company Is Turning Single-Ticket Buyers Into Repeat Visitors
Attracting an Elusive Audience                  
Attracting an Elusive Audience: How the San Francisco Girls Chorus Is Breaking Down Stereotypes and Generating Interest Among Classical Music Patrons                  



Learn more about The Wallace Foundation’s research on audience development for the arts.

These resources are made possible by The Wallace Foundation. The League is pleased to be working in partnership with the Foundation to help share ideas and practical solutions to problems in building audiences for the arts.

ORR 2010-2011

Repertoire Reports by Composer

These reports list all classical season works performed by orchestras during the specified season. The reports are alphabetized by composer, then by the composer’s works. The reports include the orchestra, conductor, and soloist (if applicable) who performed the work, and the date of the first performance.  If an orchestra performed the work on a series that included multiple concerts, only the first concert is indicated.

Repertoire Reports by Meeting Group

These reports list all classical season works performed by orchestras during the specified season.  The reports are alphabetized by composer, then by the composer’s works.  The reports include the orchestra, conductor, and soloist (if applicable) who performed the work, and the date of the first performance.  If an orchestra performed the work on a series that included multiple concerts, only the first concert is indicated.

Concert Programs by Meeting Group

These reports list the programming of each concert. The reports are organized alphabetically by orchestra, then chronologically by date of concert. The reports also include the conductor and soloist where applicable, and individual concert programming.

Soloist Appearances

These reports list all soloists scheduled to appear with orchestras throughout the 2009-10 season.  The reports are organized alphabetically by instrument of the soloist, then by last name of the soloist.  The reports include the first date of the concert(s), as well as the orchestra and conductor who accompanied the soloist. The reports also include the work performed on the concert.

Performances of Works by U.S. Composers

These reports list the performances of American composers. The lists are alphabetized by composer, then by the composer’s works, and include the date first performed, conductor, orchestra and soloist (if applicable). The “performances” column on the right side of the page indicates the number of times the work was performed by each orchestra, while the “total performances” category indicates the aggregate sum of all orchestra performances. (Note that certain composers are not included on this list)

Performances of Works Composed within the Past 25 Years

These reports list the performances of contemporary works, composed within 25 years of the specified season.  The lists are alphabetized by composer, then by the composer’s works, and include the date first performed, conductor, orchestra and soloist (if applicable).  The “performances” column on the right side of the page indicates the number of times the work was performed by each orchestra, while the “total performances” category indicates the aggregate sum of all orchestra performances.

Premiere Performances (World, U.S. and Canadian)

These reports list all premieres including World, US, and Canadian. Under each heading, the reports are alphabetized by composer, then by the composer’s works and  includes who commissioned the work, the first performance date, conductor and soloist (if applicable) and the orchestra giving the premiere.

Youth, Education, and Community

This section offers data and research on youth orchestras, music education, community engagement and more. For more information, visit the Youth, Education and Community section or check Advocacy and Government to see how you can become an advocate for music education.

Narrative Perspectives

This section offers a variety of insightful perspectives about the modern orchestra field.

National Arts Data

CPANDA, the Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive, is the world's first interactive digital archive of policy-relevant data on the arts and cultural policy in the United States. It is a collaborative effort of Princeton University's Firestone Library and the Princeton Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies

Arts and Economic Prosperity
This study by American for the Arts documents the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and their audiences, in strengthening our nation’s economy.

National Arts Index
This report by Americans for the Arts is a highly distilled annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the United States by using 76 equal weighted, national-level indicators of arts activity. This report covers an 11-year period, from 1998 to 2008.

Performing Arts Research Coalition
The Performing Arts Research Coalition (PARC) brings together five major national service organizations (NSOs) in the performing arts to improve and coordinate the way performing arts organizations gather information on their sector. For further analysis, click here.

Orchestra Library Resources

  • MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarian Association) Resources
    Founded in 1983, the Major Orchestra Librarians' Association comprises of over 270 performance organizations around  the world, represented by more than 450 librarians. The job of these performance librarians is to acquire, prepare, catalogue and maintain the music for each institution. Through MOLA, librarians share information and resources to help them in their daily work.

  • The Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music
    The world's largest lending library of orchestral performance material, with over 21,000 titles and growing. Owned by the Free Library of Philadelphia, you can hear pieces from the Fleisher Collection on the first Saturday of every month from 5:00 to 6:00 PM on WRTI-90.1 FM and wrti.org. Kile Smith, the Collection's curator co-hosts Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, which “uncovers the unknown, rediscovers the little-known, and takes a fresh look at some of the remarkable treasures of the Fleisher Collection.” Visit fleisher.org or The Free Library to learn more.

  • BMI Repertoire Search
    BMI is the bridge between songwriters and the businesses and organizations that want to play their music publicly. As a global leader in music rights management, BMI serves as an advocate for the value of music, representing more than 8.5 million musical works created and owned by more than 600,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers.

  • ASCAP Repertoire Search
    The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 470,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represent hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide. They are the only US performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from our membership.

  • SESAC Repertoire Search
    SESAC, Inc. was founded in 1930 to serve European composers not adequately represented in the United States. Though the company name was once an acronym, today it is simply SESAC and not an abbreviation of anything.  

    With an international reach and a vast repertory that spans virtually every genre of music, SESAC is the fastest growing and most technologically adept of the nation’s performing rights companies.

  • Composers You Should Know, from the Maag Library
    While this LibGuide was made primarily for Music History and Composition students, everyone can benefit from learning about at least a few representative composers from different time periods and countries.

  • Music Lending Library
    The Music Revitalization Project has a large selection of music and plan to continually expand our holdings. The lending library is offered to any area band, community or scholastic organization, within a fifty mile radius of Norton, MA.

Innovation and Technology

For more information, visit the Learning and Leadership Development section.