League of American Orchestras'


Emerging Leaders Program

An unparalleled opportunity to learn and grow—without leaving your orchestra


“Not something that I could have replicated through a master’s degree in Arts Administration.” 

  — a 2016 ELP graduate 


ELP Application Kit here (includes eligibility requirements, tuition fees, important dates, and more).

Application deadline July 31, 2017

The League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) increases the leadership capabilities of high-potential orchestra professionals, benefitting individuals and the orchestras they work for alike. Prospective participants demonstrate the potential to make significant contributions to their orchestra and to the field as a whole.

Program Description

Those individuals accepted to participate in the League's Emerging Leaders Program bring the imagination, drive, and commitment to be change agents and leaders of our field in the decades ahead.

This 10-month program includes:

  • One-on-one leadership coaching
  • Mentoring by top leaders in the field
  • Seminars led by leadership experts
  • Visits with leaders and institutions both inside and outside the orchestra field

In addition, ELP participants will have the opportunity to develop and present a final project at the League's 73rd National Conference in Chicago on a key leadership issue affecting the field. 

Up to twelve participants will be chosen through a competitive application process.

The League seeks to develop and invest in the best future leaders of our field, and makes significant financial-aid available to lower barriers to participation.

Find details about eligibility, the application requirements, program schedule, and more in the ELP Application Kit.   


Guided by a faculty of leadership experts and active leaders from in and outside the field, the program’s curriculum addresses:

  • Fundamentals of managing other people—how to engage, influence, and mobilize others in support of shared purpose.
  • Dimensions of organizational culture—how to understand and assess organizational culture, and how to build a healthier and more effective culture.
  • Elements of organizational strategy—how to develop, implement, and measure the impact of a unifying strategic direction.
  • Characteristics of innovation and change management—how to challenge the status quo and develop prototypes and new approaches that increase impact.
  • Responsibilities of self-leadership—how to build reflective practice into a career of ever increasing influence on the field.

Program Components

Components of the Emerging Leaders Program include:

  • A 360-degree assessment for each participant which will include opinions about his or her performance from a range of individuals within and outside their organization.
  • Six one-on-one sessions with an executive coach.
  • Three in-person seminars and three virtual convenings.
  • Four one-hour mentoring sessions with the participant’s executive director over the course of the program. (If the participant is an executive director, mentoring sessions will be provided by one of his or her trustees.)
  • Field trips to meet with highly-placed representatives of institutions outside the orchestra field.
  • Joint design, development, and execution, with other program participants, of a group final project that will culminate at the League’s 2018 Conference.


The Emerging Leaders Program is guided by renowned leadership expert John McCann as the lead faculty and facilitator.

Mary Parish, ELP’s coach will provide one-on-one coaching for each participant throughout the course of the program.

Guest speakers from in and outside the orchestra field are invited to provide ELP participants with diverse perspectives and multifaceted learning experience. 

Apply Here

The application due date is July 31, 2017.


Do you know an emerging leader who would be a great candidate for this program?  Please send them a link to this page!


Please direct questions about the Emerging Leaders Program to:
Yoo-Jin Hong
Program Director, Knowledge, Learning, and Leadership
League of American Orchestras
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


“Participating in ELP has been a highlight of my professional career thus far. . . It is something that I could have only been provided through my orchestra and the work of the League. I know that I will use what I have been taught through ELP for the rest of my professional life. It could not have been a more wonderful, valuable experience.”

—        Participant of ELP Class of 2016

“Perhaps the best endorsement I can give of the Emerging Leaders Program is that it helped me unlock and believe in the leader that I knew I was capable of being. I am not sure I would have had the confidence to take an Executive Director role without having gone through this program.”     

—      Participant of ELP Class of 2016


The Emerging Leaders Program is made possible by generous grants from American Express Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.