The League of American Orchestras' Essentials of Orchestra Management (Essentials) is an immersive ten-day seminar that prepares orchestra professionals to be effective administrators and leaders. Since its inception in 2000, over 400 emerging professionals have participated in Essentials, including many who now hold key leadership positions in orchestras. The 2018 Essentials seminar concluded on July 26, and wrapped up an action packed 10 days that proved to be an incredible experience for participants, faculty, and the League.
Essentials has been referred to by many as “the gold standard of orchestra management training”, not only for its long tradition of championing best practices in the orchestral field, but also for its faculty. For over a decade, Essentials has consistently enlisted some of the top practitioner-educators in the country to steer the seminar curriculum and continue to make adaptations to address the most current demands placed on American orchestras today. Led by a faculty of currently active orchestra executives, musicians, and leadership experts, the seminar is designed to address both theory and practice, integrating the faculty’s extensive practical experience and professional knowledge in the course curriculum.
The 2018 Essentials Core Faculty and Leadership included:
Simon Woods | Seminar Director and Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
Scott Faulkner | Associate Seminar Director and Principal Bass, Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Former Executive Director, Reno Chamber Orchestra
Jennifer Barlament | Executive Director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Laing | Principal Clarinetist, Phoenix Symphony
Jesse Rosen | President and CEO, League of American Orchestras
John-Morgan Bush | Director, Learning and Leadership Programs, League of American Orchestras
The core faculty not only ensured the planning, course content, and overall schedule for the seminar, but also guided the students the entire 10 days through mentoring, coaching, elaborating on lectures by guest presenters, and participating in learning activities with the participants.
The 2018 Essentials seminar also utilized 24 of the most prominent and innovative professionals in the orchestra field as guest faculty members on a comprehensive range of sessions ranging from "Finance and Sustainability of Orchestras" led by former Chief Financial Officer of the LA Opera Faith Raiguel, to "Building Audience Sustainability" taught by Alan Brown. These are just two of the many sessions that participants experienced across their 10-day experience.
One highlight of the 2018 Essentials seminar was the session “Imagining the Future(s) of Orchestras” led by Dr. Tanya Kalmanovitch that focused on the incredible societal, environmental, and technological shifts facing the world over the coming decades.
This session (through utilizing design-thinking and active learning) challenged the participants to envision and rapidly design cutting edge solutions that might address the ways these future global shifts will affect the orchestra world. The impact this exercise had on the participants was extraordinary and was felt throughout the duration of the seminar.
Professional mentoring, establishing strong career networks and sharing meaningful learning experiences together are all fundamental aspects of the Essentials program. The 2018 participants engaged in faculty coaching, peer-to-peer mentoring, and deep career-oriented reflections.
The Essentials cohort surprises core faculty member Jennifer Barlament with a rendition of "Happy Birthday". The League's Meeting and Logistics Coordinator, Derek Weagle, accompanies the group at the piano.