December 2015

December 2015
Helping people with autism enjoy live music
House lights kept on during the performance? Designated open spaces and quiet areas for patrons to move about freely? Tempered loud sounds? These are some of the hallmarks of special sensory-friendly performances for adults and children with autism. Serving a variety of audiences on the autism spectrum, from the high-functioning to those with little or no language and greater mental challenges, the programs introduce the joys of live music to people with autism, and provide them with enriching group cultural experiences. These concerts are transformational for audiences, family members, and performers. Read an article in Symphony magazine’s Fall issue here, and check out a recent television news piece featuring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra here.
White House honors Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
First Lady Michelle Obama said, “Arts education is not a luxury. It is a necessity,” at a White House ceremony on November 17, honoring the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) and twelve other winners of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. MYSO Executive Director Linda Edelstein and musician Malik Johnson accepted the honor on behalf of the Community Partnership Programs, which offer string training for third- and fourth-grade students from lower-income and minority families, ensemble performance opportunities for middle and high school students, and financial aid for lessons and transportation.
How will your state implement the new education law?
The new education law - the Every Student Succeeds Act- signed by President Obama on December 10 reverses many of the policies of the No Child Left Behind Act that narrowed the curriculum, firmly establishes that every child deserves access to a well-rounded education, and declares that federal education dollars may be used by states and local school systems to provide increased access to music and arts education. The League was a leading advocate at the national level as the Act took shape, and next steps now move primarily to the states to determine how and how much federal funding will be used to support music and arts education in the schools. The highest poverty schools currently have the least access to music education, denying many students all of the advantages that a complete music education can provide. Orchestras work every day - through their programs, partnerships, and policy engagement- to increase access to music education in our nation's schools and communities.
Music Alive residencies in action
Two unique Music Alive residencies have recently been in the spotlight. During a Fall Music Alive: New Partnerships residency with the Tucson Symphony, composer Takuma Itoh mentored students in the Symphony’s Young Composers Program, who saw the composer’s new orchestral work Ripple Effect, “come to life” as it received its world premiere from the Symphony and conductor Keitaro Harada. Listen to an interview with Itoh and Harada on Arizona Public Radio station KUAT-FM here. Music Alive Composer in Residence Trimpin culminated his Seattle Symphony residency by working with adults from Path with Art, an organization that uses the power of art to transform the lives of those recovering from addiction, homelessness and other trauma. Program participants designed and built a one-of-a-kind instrument out of found, broken, and retired objects, and composed and performed their own music using the instrument. Watch a television interview about the project here. Music Alive is a jointly-administered program of New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
League commissions “Reimagining the Orchestra Model," an unprecedented study
“The need to revitalize orchestra subscriptions to meet the needs of today’s audiences is absolutely critical,” writes Jesse Rosen, the League’s President and CEO in the foreward to “Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model.” The study, by global consultancy Oliver Wyman, was commissioned by the League. “Until now, there has been a lack of field-wide research in this area, so we knew we had to employ a data-driven approach to find strategies to meet the challenge.” Rosen continues, “We created the largest ever orchestra sales dataset. Ten years of transaction data, combined with new surveys and buying simulations, provided an incredibly strong empirical basis for the analysis you see here in the final report. This initiative provides orchestras with the tools to reimagine the subscription model for today and in the future.” Click here for links to the study, a free webinar, and more!
Virtual reality “VAN Beethoven” hits LA
The Los Angeles Philharmonic took community engagement to new heights recently, as their mobile “VAN Beethoven” brought the wonders of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to diverse communities during a six-week tour. Stops along the way included parks, cultural festivals, museums, and more. Dubbed a “mobile virtual reality orchestral experience,” VAN Beethoven was a van customized with carpeting, concert seats, and virtual reality headsets utilizing Oculus technology. Its immersive, 360-degree, 3D environment enabled people to be transported to the inside of Walt Disney Concert Hall as they experienced the magic of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel performing Beethoven. See more about VAN Beethoven here.
Did You Know?

The League of American Orchestras has launched The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service, supporting orchestra musicians and the important ways their share their artistry in their communities! The deadline for nominations is February 9, 2016. Learn more here.
Congratulations to composers Andreia Pinto-Correia and Xi Wang, 2015 commission recipients from the League’s Women Composers Readings and Commissions program, administered with the American Composers Orchestra and EarShot and supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Both composers will receive orchestral commissions of $15,000. Learn more here.
The League has launched an important new partnership with the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at Southern Methodist University in Texas. Established in 2013, NCAR is the leading provider of evidence-based insights for arts and cultural organizations in the U.S. The League joins the Cultural Data Project, the National Center for Charitable Statistics, Theater Communications Group, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in providing data for NCAR’s annual reports on the health of the arts and culture sector. Click here for more information.
Photo Credits
White House honors Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
Photo Credit: Steven Purcell
League commissions “Reimagining the Orchestra Model," an unprecedented study
Photo Credit: 2015 © Nanette Bedway