1. This is my first Conference. How can I make the best use of my time? 

(Read First-Timer Orientation >> )

Whether you're affiliated with an orchestra or a business, or are attending as an individual, start planning now!

For a start, check out the Conference Program and Schedule online. It's a chronological listing of Conference events, with a schedule grid for each day and useful maps. You can use this to plan your time. (You'll also receive the Schedule in booklet form when you register on-site in Minneapolis) The Schedule offers an excellent chance to decide in advance which of the Orchestra Perspectives Sessions and OLA Seminars you'd like to attend. Plan to attend all meetings of your constituency group. When you arrive at Conference, carry the Conference Program Schedule with you at all times so you can quickly adjust your plans if needed.

Make sure to attend all your constituent-group meetings. You'll meet colleagues who can show you the ropes and introduce you to others who share your concerns and challenges. You'll also pick up great ideas to bring back to your orchestra. If other representatives of your orchestra's staff, board, volunteer group, or musicians are coming to the Conference, coordinate schedules with them so that, together, you can cover as many of the public sessions as possible.

Join your constituency's online discussion group today —it's free! This will inform you about the sessions specific to your concerns, and will give you the year-round opportunity to be in touch with your colleagues online. Your constituency's developing agenda will also be regularly updated online.

2. How much should I budget to attend the Conference?

You'll need to budget five primary expenses for each individual attending the Conference:

1. Registration
2. If you're an exhibitor: Exhibition booth (Choose from 3 different size exhibit booths.)
3. Travel by air, train, or car.
4. Hotel.
5. Per diem expenses such as meals and cab fare.

Additionally, you may also want to add an Orchestra Leadership Academy seminar for one or more individuals from your group.

3. How can I benefit from attending the Conference?

For many orchestras, the cost of sending staff to Conference may seem like a great deal of money until you look at the benefits you and your orchestra receive. Here are just a few:

  • expert knowledge about every aspect of the orchestra business
  • up-to-date information and resources on important trends in the orchestra world
  • one-on-one discussions with leaders in management, governance, development, marketing, artistic, and every other aspect of orchestra operations
  • the most significant benefit of all: networking with other managers, staffers, musicians, business partners, trustees, and volunteers—the people who understand exactly what you do

We understand that the orchestra field faces economic challenges. For this reason, there are discounts for those affiliated with member youth, and smaller-budget orchestras (budgets under $469,999) as well as volunteers and students.

But don't forget that there may be technical assistance funding available for Conference through your state arts agency, local Chamber of Commerce, or various foundations. Many are happy to fund Conference attendance. The League also developed a doc grant proposal template that you can use when applying for professional development support. Don't forget to request enough funds to cover travel, hotel, and meals. Even without such funding—or with partial funding—you'll pick up cost-saving or revenue-producing ideas that will very likely pay for your trip to the Conference, and benefit your orchestra in the coming years.

4. I'm having trouble with my online registration form. Whom can I contact for help?

If you have questions about filling out the form or you're having trouble submitting it electronically, call Member Services at 212 262 5161 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5. Does the League provide tapes, transcripts or other materials of Conference events for those who can't attend?

Our conference events, by their very nature, are interactive—with discussion, debate, and comments from the floor as essential components. The most compelling Conference experiences usually involve demonstrations, audio-visual presentations, unscripted conversation, and other interactive elements. You have to be there to take full advantage of the Conference's multi-layered learning opportunities. However, we are committed to posting as much material on the website as possible to assist those why really can not be there.

If you are unable to attend, all is not lost. We ask the leaders of each constituent group to take detailed notes from meetings and share them with the League's online discussion groups. You may wish to remind your constituent leader of your need for these notes. In addition, on occasion, we print selected speeches from the Conference in Symphony magazine. However, we must stress that these services do not take the place of attending Conference in person. If you are skipping the Conference for financial reasons, please consider the suggestions above.

6. I'd like to attend several sessions and meetings that conflict with one another. Why are there so many conflicts?

We're aware of the conflicts that can take place at the Conference, and there doesn't seem to be a way of avoiding them other than extending Conference to a week. The orchestra field is complex, and its many constituent groups like to meet with those who share their specific concerns. Marketing directors find it most helpful to meet with other marketing directors; artistic administrators with other artistic administrators; managers of smaller-budget orchestras with those who manage similar orchestras, and so on. Most of these meetings are limited to those from the specific constituent group, in order to focus discussion in the limited time available.

If you're a manager who is interested in the meeting topics of development, marketing, or other non-executive constituencies, consider talking with your constituent leader about adding some of these topics to your group's meeting agenda. You'll have a greater opportunity to ask questions specific to your orchestra's situation, and can tailor the topics more closely to your needs. For example, you might work with your constituent leader to identify a marketing director from a larger orchestra to speak to your group about applying relationship marketing concepts at an orchestra without a dedicated marketing department.

7. What are future conference dates and locations?

June 17-20, St. Louis, Missouri