Anne Parsons Leadership Program

Anne Parsons was a giant in the orchestra field. An institutional and civic leader of tremendous vision and presence, Anne was known across the orchestra profession as someone who led from culture – and it was through cultural transformation that she brought the Detroit Symphony Orchestra out from its darkest days to being one of the country’s most vibrant orchestral institutions.

She was beloved by all who knew and worked with her, but above all she was a role model to women who aspired to leadership positions, and to those already in leadership positions who aspired to her levels of skill, finesse, and deep authenticity.

To honor Anne’s life and legacy as a transformative leader and mentor, the League has established the Anne Parsons Leadership Program

The three-year pilot program will support promising women and non-binary orchestra professionals in their career progression, create and train a new network of established orchestra leaders to mentor and support them, and build a wider pool of candidates for leadership roles in the country’s leading orchestras. The League’s vision is to achieve gender equity in executive orchestral leadership, including in the top thirty largest budget orchestras, a goal that Anne would have been proud of.

Each year, the program will select six participants – including but not limited to alumni of the League’s longstanding leadership programs and individuals from backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the orchestral field.

Beginning this summer, the six participants will work with mentors over the course of the coming year, in online monthly group meetings as well as individually with their mentor, and will receive leadership training. Participants will receive a travel stipend and free registration to the League’s National Conference to convene and to contribute their insights to the national debate. Participants will benefit from networking opportunities supported by the mentors, and the whole cohort’s profile will be promoted on a national level. As the program grows, further training elements will be onboarded and a support network of significant scale will evolve and be supported by the League. 

The program will advance a new generation of candidates with the capacity to take on c-suite roles in major orchestras as well as building a culture of mentorship, coaching, and support across our field. The League expects to grow the program after the pilot, with the intention that it becomes a permanent part of the League’s leadership offerings.

More details and application information coming soon!


For additional information, please contact Heather Briere at hbriere@americanorchestras.org.

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