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Opening Session with Deborah Borda, Anthony McGill, Jesse Rosen, and Henry Timms

Speakers: Deborah Borda, President and CEO, New York Philharmonic; Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinet, The Edna and W. Van Alan Clark Chair, New York Philharmonic; Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras; and Henry Timms, President and CEO, Lincoln Center

The content of this session was sponsored by Broadcast Music, Inc.

We kicked off our online Conference with a performance by Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinet, NY Philharmonic and Board Member, League of American Orchestras.

Anthony joined the NY Philharmonic’s President and CEO Deborah Borda and Lincoln Center’s President and CEO Henry Timms for a thought-provoking and engaging conversation with League President and CEO Jesse Rosen on what opportunities and inspiration they are seeing to understand the moment unfolding around us and to navigate this new world.


Outside the Box: An (Unconventional) Orchestra Musician’s Perspective

Speakers: Valerie Coleman, Flutist and Composer, VColeman Music and Frost School of Music, Univ of Miami (FL); Tia Allen, violist; Lady Jess, violinist; Stephanie Matthews, violinist

Moderator: Alex Laing, Principal Clarinetist, Phoenix Symphony

In this session, three musicians—violist Tia Allen and violinists Lady Jess and Stephanie Matthews—shared how they created unconventional, but substantive music careers on the fringe of the classical music establishment. Hear their stories, experience their journeys, and celebrate their resilient spirit to succeed in the face of adversity—a model for bringing together our musical communities during these unprecedented times, when the definition of equity has changed overnight.


Conference Keynote with Nina Simon: Re-envision Relevance to Build a More Inclusive Future

Speaker: Nina Simon, Spacemaker & CEO, OF/BY/FOR ALL

This session was generously sponsored by Fisher Dachs Associates.

COVID-19 is challenging many of us to rethink how we lead, create, raise funds, program, and engage with audiences. If the pandemic is a portal (as Arundhati Roy puts it), where do we hope it will lead us? How can we reimagine and reinvent our organizations to be more relevant, equitable, and successful?

In this interactive keynote, Nina Simon shared concrete strategies to help your team re-envision your organization and your relationship with the communities that matter most to your future. Nina drew from her work as Spacemaker and CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL, as well as her past experience leading a small museum from the brink of bankruptcy to transformative community impact. You’ll leave the keynote with tools you can use in board meetings and planning sessions this summer to envision a community-centered future.

This session also included the League’s Annual Meeting, featuring Mary Anne Carter, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. League President and CEO Jesse Rosen and Board Chair Douglas M. Hagerman shared updates on the League’s work and the state of the orchestra field, plus the League’s incoming CEO, Simon Woods, was welcomed.


Anti-Black Racism and American Orchestras

Speaker: Aaron Flagg, D.M.A., Chair and Associate Director, Juilliard Jazz Studies Department, The Juilliard School

This session is made possible by generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Aaron Flagg, D.M.A., Chair of the League’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Chair and Associate Director, Juilliard Jazz Studies Program, lead this session that explores racism’s connection to orchestras, what orchestras can do about it, and how the League’s EDI Committee is engaging with and learning about racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Flagg was joined by members of the League’s EDI Committee of the Board.


Loan Forgiveness and the Paycheck Protection Program

Speaker: Kyle Miller, Pryor Cashman, LLP

Moderator: Heather Noonan, League of American Orchestras

This session provides new information on the loan forgiveness process for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been a key form of relief for orchestras and musicians amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We will provide essential background on the loan forgiveness process for orchestras, even as ongoing guidance continues to be released by the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Orchestra stakeholders are welcome to submit questions in advance via our question portal to help focus our approach. Please also visit our Federal Assistance web page for important background information and the latest links to federal guidelines.


EDI at the San Francisco Symphony: Foundational Work and the COVID-19 Challenge

Speakers: Sakurako Fisher, President, San Francisco Symphony; David Kim, Musician/Violist, San Francisco Symphony; Debbie McCoy, Board Governor, San Francisco Symphony; Nick Platoff, Associate Principal Trombone, San Francisco Symphony; Elizabeth Shribman, Chief of Staff, San Francisco Symphony; Adrienne Storey, Associate Director of Archives and Records Management, San Francisco Symphony; Margaret Tait, Cellist, San Francisco Symphony; Jeanette Yu, Editorial Director, San Francisco Symphony

Naming and centering organizational values of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is more important than ever in the current crisis. This session offers an overview of the San Francisco Symphony’s efforts over almost two years to build a more inclusive and equitable organizational culture. How was a foundational understanding of EDI built through difficult, ongoing work at the San Francisco Symphony prior to the onset of COVID-19, and how can the organization’s EDI learnings and values manifest in its response to the current crisis?


Conference Finale with Valerie Coleman

Speakers: Valerie Coleman, Flutist and Composer, VColeman Music and Frost School of Music, Univ of Miami (FL)

Iconic flutist and composer Valerie Coleman shared inspiration and innovation for hope, harmony, and unity as we engage our communities. Through the lens of her own journey with music, she reflected on how artists address our shared humanity and the relationship of the arts to where we are today as a society. We also awarded the Gold Baton, the League’s highest honor.

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