Helen M. Thompson Award

2015 Helen M. Thompson Award

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.

This annual award is given to orchestra managers/executive directors and music directors in alternate years. The 2015 Helen M. Thompson Award will be given to an outstanding early-career manager/executive director.

A cash prize of $1,000 will be presented to the individual winner at the League’s 2015 Conference, May 27-29, in Cleveland, OH.

Eligibility

Candidates must be nominated by an officer of the orchestra’s board, a music director, a musician in the orchestra, or by another executive director. 

Eligible nominees are those who have worked as a chief executive (e.g., executive director or CEO) in his or orchestra(s), with no more than five years total combined experience as an executive director as of March 2015.

Nominees must hold the top executive position at a League of American Orchestras member orchestra and be available to accept the award at the League’s Conference, during the Annual Meeting & Luncheon, from 12:30 – 1:45 PM on Thursday, May 28, 2015, at the Cleveland Convention Center.

Evaluation and Selection Criteria

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
  • 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.

Nomination Process

The deadline is Friday, April 17, 2015.

Please click here for nomination form and to upload the following nomination materials, which should be prepared in advance:

  • Nominee’s bio (one page, maximum)
  • Nominee’s headshot
  • Nominee’s résumé
  • Recommendation letter of no more than two pages that describes the nominee’s achievements in one or more of the four following areas:
    • Fostering artistic vitality
    • 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.       
  • Orchestra’s most recent annual report
  • Orchestra’s last 2 season brochures

Questions

Questions may be directed to James Barry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212-262-5161 ext. 245.