Some thoughts from League President and CEO, Simon Woods on opportunities for orchestras to think differently after the pandemic.

After more than 30 years working with orchestras, I was honored earlier this year to accept the position of President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras.

But back in March, I had little idea of what I would inherit as I stepped into my new virtual office a couple of months ago. It’s not hyperbole to say that our working lives will never be the same again after 2020. As a result of COVID-19, arts organizations large and small are fighting for their lives, while individual artists and administrators are fighting for their livelihoods. The long-overdue racial reckoning of 2020 has layered on a profound re-examination of our entire field. And the Presidential election has reminded us all of the polarization that runs through American society and the acute divergence of views about how we should move forward as a nation. But what’s particularly draining about this moment is the unfathomable uncertainty. Previous assumptions about our organizations seem irrelevant; even year-old strategic plans are barely worth the paper they’re printed on, and no amount of self-care can fend off the deep anxiety we feel as we try to navigate the moment.

Simon Woods, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras


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