July 2015

July 2015
League’s Conference in Cleveland a Rousing Success
This year’s theme for the League of American Orchestras’ Conference was “The New Work of Orchestras,” and for 1000+ delegates, it was a refrain that resonated deeply. In a nod to David Letterman, League President and CEO Jesse Rosen’s Conference address included a “Top Ten” list of critical issues for orchestras. The list covered a wide swath of ideas, from “Design the organizations that serve the music and missions of today” to “Experiment, evaluate, and collaborate." Other points: “Be part of the solution to our nation’s education equity crisis,” “Prioritize diversity,” and “Integrate community engagement in all activity -- it’s a value, not a program.” Read the full transcript or watch a video of the speech here. Other videos, transcripts, and presentations from the Conference are now available on the League’s website.
Daphne, Data, and Dancing

Conference delegates spent three jam-packed days attending educational sessions, meetings with peers, events, and performances, including an extraordinary production of the Strauss opera Daphne by host The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall. An unprecedented number of research reports were previewed at the Conference, including a League-commissioned analysis of subscriptions trends, as well as studies on digital strategy, audience development, donor relations, and changing concert formats. See a post-Conference report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Listen to an interview about the state of the orchestra field with Jesse Rosen and Cleveland Orchestra executive director Gary Hanson, on radio station WCPN.
Now on Deck: Institutional Change and a New Collaborative Landscape
One of many Conference treats was a session entitled Unleashing the Power of Collaboration. A mix of musicians, executive directors, and board chairs from The Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra elaborated on how orchestras have changed their missions over the years and helped create a new collaborative landscape, focused outwardly and incorporating the communities they serve. See the video here.
NEA Chairman Chu on Orchestras, Creativity, and Relevance

NEA Chairman Jane Chu addressed the Conference attendees, sharing remarks during the opening session that explored the capacity of orchestras to respond to the issues of our time, referencing the recent work of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.  Orchestras were also invited to share stories of the impact of NEA funding as the agency embarks on celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Chairman Chu's perspective on the capacity of the arts and creativity to impact civic life is explored in an interview in the current issue of Symphony magazine.
New Orchestral Works by John Luther Adams, Michael Gordon, Tod Machover, and Others Connect Music to Local Communities
Now in the summer issue of Symphony: A spate of new musical works evokes the histories, geographies and life stories of the places where orchestras and their communities live. Read more here. Plus: Orchestra programs address gang violence, poverty, and juvenile offenders; a new East-West polyphony -- composers with Arabic, Turkish, and Iranian roots create cross-cultural works for orchestra; and London’s orchestras ride a wave of experimentation. Read the full issue free-of-charge here.
Cuban Overtures: On the Road With the Minnesota Orchestra
When the Minnesota Orchestra became the first U.S. orchestra to visit Cuba following President Obama’s announcement of normalized relations with that country, the League’s president and CEO Jesse Rosen accompanied the group. He found a euphoric Cuban public, and a completely retooled orchestra, as musicians, staff, and board bonded closely together over three days filled with sold-out concerts, coaching sessions with high school and college students, a side-by-side concert with the Youth Orchestra of the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, a midnight nightclub jam session, and a performance at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence. Plus instrument-repairing, sight-seeing, dancing, and more. Read the Huffington Post article here.
Did You Know?
Heather Noonan, the League’s VP for Advocacy, was profiled in the latest newsletter of the State Arts Action Network, a program of Americans for the Arts. Key topics covered: how the League’s advocacy efforts help member orchestras, and Noonan’s recommendations for arts advocates. Click here to read!
The popular Driving Growth through Digital Innovation Conference session examined “Like, Link, Share: How cultural institutions are embracing digital technology,” a recent study commissioned by the Wyncote Foundation. Read the study here. And check out the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Conference presentation here and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s presentation here.
Gen Xers and Millennials now comprise 35% of the Houston Symphony’s audience, up by 155% over the last nine years. There is a significantly higher degree (40%) of racial diversity among subscribers 45 years of age or under. See more in the Houston Symphony’s presentation from the Diversity Progress Report: Learn from Your Peers session.
Deadline August 12, 2015! Orchestra Statistical Report (OSR) Survey
The 2013-2014 Orchestra Statistical Report (OSR14) Survey is now open (for League member orchestras, only). The deadline for submission is Wednesday, August 12th, 2015, and only those orchestras who participate in the survey will receive the full OSR report. Please contact David Bojanowski with any questions: 646 822 4071 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Photo Credits
Daphne, Data, and Dancing
Courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra;
Photo Credit: Roger Mastroianni
NEA Chairman Chu
Photo Credit: 2015 © Nanette Bedway
Cuban Overtures
Photo Credit: Travis Anderson