Helen M. Thompson Award for an Early-Career Executive Director
In 1981, an award was created to celebrate the life and work of Helen M. Thompson, the person who, more than any other, championed symphony orchestras in the United States. Beginning in 1943, Helen Thompson’s 27 years of inspired leadership and service to the League encouraged smaller-budget orchestras to develop higher standards and to serve their communities well.
The 2013 Helen M. Thompson Award will be given to an outstanding early-career executive director. The award will be presented at the League’s 2013 National Conference in June, and includes a cash prize of $2,500.
Candidates must be nominated by an officer of the orchestra’s board, a music director, a musician, or by another executive director. Eligible nominees are those who have worked as an executive director, or person of similar title who holds the top managerial position in his or her orchestra(s), with no more than five years total combined experience as an executive director as of March 2013. Nominees must hold the top managerial position at a League of American Orchestras member orchestra, and must be available to accept the award at the League’s National Conference in St. Louis on June 20.
Evaluation and Selection Criteria
Award nominees should exhibit excellence and dedication to the orchestra(s) through exceptional leadership and commitment to organizational vitality. It is of prime importance that nominees demonstrate extraordinary achievement and commitment to the field of orchestra management and possess potential for continued growth.
Significant achievements should include:
- Fostering artistic vitality and innovation
- Growing the orchestra’s engagement with the community
- Managing a sustainable long-term operational plan for the organization
- Demonstrating exemplary leadership in staff, board, and musician relations
Self-nominations are not accepted. Previous winners are not eligible.
To nominate a candidate, please complete this short form. Required materials include: nominee bio, photo, resume, recommendation letter, copy of orchestra’s annual report, and the last two orchestra’s season brochures.
Deadline: February 22, 2013
If you have questions, please contact James Barry, at
or 646 822 4045.