Essentials of Orchestra Management 2018 at the University of Southern California

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.
Our cohort and core faculty in action envisioning the many possible futures of orchestras.

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.

There was a great deal of fun to be had as well with two exciting field trips the spectacular Hollywood Bowl which were closely connected to the Essentials curriculum but were also experiences designed to forge friendship and inspire camaraderie.

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.

This residential program on the campus of USC provided an in-depth overview of orchestra management, built career networks, and offered participants a unique opportunity to obtain what’s necessary to become an innovative and successful leader in the arts.

This year, EOM participants stayed in the new University Village, opened in 2017, which boasts excellent restaurants, gathering areas, and first-rate accommodations for the course of the seminar. The elevated patio gardens became a hotspot of conversations, gatherings, and celebrations throughout the seminar.
This year’s Essentials of Orchestra Management Seminar demonstrated that the future of American orchestras is in good hands. The incredible levels of discussion, analysis, and participation of the 2018 cohort was a clear indicator that there is in fact an emerging generation of orchestra leaders who are ready to tackle the challenges of today but are also informed and inspired to imagine a thriving future for the orchestras of tomorrow.

In partnership with the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music.

Essentials of Orchestra Management is made possible by generous grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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