Thinking about the in-depth conversations at Conference 2022.

By Laura Reynolds, Vice President of Impact & Innovation, San Diego Symphony

It is a thrilling time to be in the orchestra field.

Conference in 2022 had a different energy (or as Simon Woods put it during the Annual Luncheon, “a vibe”) than years past. Beyond the collective joy of being together again there was a newfound sense of resolve, purpose, and responsibility that had felt elusive in the past.

For me, this experience started inside the incredible new Beckmen YOLA Center when Leni Boorstin gave us a simple but powerful call to action: Show up.

We saw this call to action embodied in the work that orchestras from around the world shared with us. From creative climate justice initiatives led by Julie’s Bicycle and the Arts Council England in the UK (check out their resource library) to Handel & Haydn Society’s measurable progress in advancing equity, diversity and inclusion (read their EDI statement + progress update) to socio-emotional learning strategies that brings mindfulness and music together into the classroom (as shared by the Cleveland Orchestra) – we saw a shift from theory to action.

And what makes this the most thrilling time to be in the orchestra field is that these actions, these practices, are expanding the possibilities for our artform well beyond the concert hall (and digital stage). Our organizations are quite literally changing the world (and those YOLA performances showed us how much there is to look forward to with the next generation of musicians accelerating this positive change). We showed up in Los Angeles. Now our challenge is to keep showing up for our youth, our community, our earth, and our employees – in ways that continue to advance creativity, empathy, and equity.

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