Dear Friend,

From listening to many of you in recent weeks, I know that this time we are living through is one that makes extraordinary demands on your organizations and poses leadership challenges never before faced. Musicians and staff are experiencing painful layoffs and salary cuts, and there is simply no way to sugarcoat this.  

It is possible though to acknowledge this reality, and to also find confidence and inspiration in the sheer will of so many in our community to work their way through these challenges with imagination and perseverance. At the League, we were so heartened to see 3,700 delegates, almost four times our usual number, come together in the Conference for learning and support. What an affirmation of our collective strength.  This week is one where we are also called upon to show our collective strength. Congress is entering the final stages of the next iteration of federal relief. You can see the proposals here, and I can’t encourage you enough to participate once more in communicating with your elected officials in Washington. You can do that by simply clicking here.

Heather and Najean heading up our Washington office continue to go around the clock. They are in nonstop meetings with Hill offices and with national nonprofit and arts leadership in shaping our policy asks. They will continue, as they have done so effectively in recent weeks, to brief you as we as soon as we have the information that explains how orchestras can put the resources of the new relief package to use in supporting your workforce, mission, and community.  

Like many of you, the League has also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the drive toward racial equity. In May we began to consider the many ways these phenomena would impact us and determined the opportunities to pursue. I’d like to share with you the imperatives for our work in the year ahead and what we know now about how we will execute on them.

We will be guided in our work by three imperatives:

  1. Sustain and strengthen work in racial equity, investing heavily in the League’s own internal culture and anti-racism training, fostering courageous conversations among members, continuing investments in The Catalyst Fund and the National Alliance for Audition Support, and refreshing and developing new resources to support orchestras in their work.
  2. Help orchestras acquire the practical information necessary to operate through the crisis, advocating for and explaining federal policy and communicating the emerging science on aerosolization, audience research, and field data.
  3. Catalyze the generative conversations that support the re-invention and re-imagining of the work of orchestras. Through peer group meetings and digital content, we will create the spaces for the adaptive work of reimagining orchestras in a post-pandemic world.

We will be saying more about the activity that flows from these imperatives in the weeks ahead. For now, I can tell you about these following decisions.

  • All League program activity during the 2021 season will be delivered online.
  • The National Conference which was to have taken place in Pittsburgh will also be delivered online in June of 2021.
  • The Mid-winter Managers Meeting will be held online.
  • We will ramp up the volume, frequency, and variety of digital content, including peer group meetings, to meet the high demand evidenced in the Conference.
  • Select program activity that is dependent on live engagement will be deferred until the 2021-2022 season including the National Conductor Preview, Essentials of Orchestra Management, and the Emerging Leaders Program.

Finally, we are painfully aware of the financial strain on not only your musicians and staff, but also your organizations. We are developing pricing and packaging models for online content and member dues to be as responsive as possible to the financial strain under which we know you are operating. 

We will be telling you more about the coming season as it becomes available. Till then thank you for your dedication to orchestras and your continuing engagement with the League and our community.

Jesse Rosen
President and CEO

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