The League of American Orchestras
in association with
The University of Southern California Arts Leadership Program

Essentials of Orchestra Management

Hosted by the USC Thornton School of Music
Los Angeles, California
July 8-18, 2019 


Congratulations to our 2019 cohort!

Read the press announcement here.

Read about this year’s seminar here.


Essentials of Orchestra Management, the premier orchestra management course in the United States, prepares orchestra professionals to be effective administrators and leaders by giving them the knowledge and tools they need. Taking place over the course of ten days on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, the Essentials seminar provides participants with an in-depth overview of orchestra management, builds career networks, and offers a unique opportunity to obtain what’s necessary to become an innovative and successful leader in the arts. To many, it’s the gold standard of orchestra management training.

Led by a faculty of high-profile orchestra executives, leadership experts, artists, and arts activists with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, the seminar is designed to address both theory and practice, integrating the faculty’s extensive practical experience and professional knowledge into a course of study that not only explores the challenges faced by orchestra managers today, but also envisions how orchestras must adapt and change to be sustainable in the future.

Since its inception in 2000, over 500 individuals have participated in Essentials. Many Essentials alumni are now professionals excelling at an array of highly-regarded music organizations including the National Symphony Orchestra; Silkroad; the New York Philharmonic; and El Sistema USA.

The purpose of Essentials is to:

  • Serve as a platform for the development of future orchestra leaders
  • Envision orchestras as they look to the future
  • Deepen the knowledge and skills of the people in the field
  • Connect orchestra professionals to one another
  • Inspire life-long careers in, and dedication to, orchestras, and
  • Strengthen orchestras as they carry out their missions

Through the immersive Essentials experience, and in addition to cultivating a network of peers and mentors, participants who complete the seminar will have the critical thinking skills required to be able to:

  • Identify, diagnose, and resolve the strategic challenges of the orchestral field, of both today and tomorrow.

  • Advance orchestras as diverse and inclusive organizations and fulfill their unique role in the cultural context of their communities.

  • Develop leadership abilities to work productively with competing imperatives and within a wide range of constituent groups including audience members, musicians, staff, boards, and partner organizations.

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of core business and operating practices in American orchestras.

  • Deepen their knowledge of orchestral performances and learn to speak about orchestral music with understanding and insight.

  • Identify key resources for continued professional development.

  • Receive a one-year membership to the League of American Orchestras

Who Was Eligible to Apply?

Early career professionals, musicians, graduate students, career changers, and experienced administrators who wish to expand and deepen their knowledge base in all aspects of orchestral management.

Applications are now closed.

Seminar Details

Dates: July 8-18, 2019

Location: USC Thornton School of Music, Los Angeles, California

Essentials participants may reside on or commute to the USC campus during the duration of the seminar. Excursions to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and community-based programs will make the most of the Los Angeles setting.

Class size: Limited to 30



Essentials participants in a group activity
photo credit: Agibail R. Collins Photography

Core Faculty


Alex LaingRosenJMB

Simon Woods, chief executive officer, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Essentials director
Scott Faulkner, bassist, Reno Philharmonic; former executive director, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Essentials associate director
Jennifer Barlament, executive director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Laing, principal clarinetist, Phoenix Symphony
Jesse Rosen, president and CEO, League of American Orchestras
John-Morgan Bush, director of learning and leadership programs, League of American Orchestras

Guest Faculty

Tanya Kalmanovitch, assistant professor, the New School University and Faculty, New England Conservatory
Laura Reynolds, vice president of education and community engagement, Seattle Symphony
Ken Foster, director, arts leadership program, USC Thornton School of Music
Faith Raiguel, chief financial officer, LA Opera (Retired)
Dan Song, vice president, philharmonic and production, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Dan Coleman, senior development advisor, Cleveland Institute of Music
Amy Fogerson, director, Street Symphony Chamber Singers
Reveta Bowers, head of school, the Center for Early Education, board member, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Meredith Snow, violist, Los Angeles Philharmonic, chairperson, International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians
Vince Ford, vice president, audiences and innovation, New York Philharmonic
Rachel Roberts, associate professor of music leadership, Eastman School of Music
Ed Yim, President, American Composers Orchestra

**Additional guest faculty will be announced this Spring**

And prominent musicians and artists from the Greater L.A. area will supplement the seminar experience.

 Program Fees*

Application fee - $60


  • $3,495 Includes housing** on the USC campus
  • $2,810 Campus housing not included.

*The application fee is non-refundable. If accepted into the Essentials Class of 2019, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 will be due on or before April 23, 2019. The balance will be due on or before July 1, 2019.

**Housing covers ten nights accommodation in a single room in a two-bedroom suite with a shared bathroom in the University Village complex on the USC campus. Each participant will be responsible for covering their own costs of travel, and most meals.

Financial Aid Available

Scholarships are available. Those wishing to apply for financial aid may do so in the application module.

Links to More Essentials Information

See a photo story of last year's class

Read what faculty and alumni say about Essentials

See a recent Essentials ad in Symphony magazine

Article in Winter 2019 Symphony magazine on Essentials


For any questions, please contact John-Morgan Bush, Director, Learning and Leadership Programs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


USC logo


Essentials of Orchestra Management is made possible by generous grants from
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 photo credits of faculty: Brandon Patoc, Elizabeth Harraman, Jeff Roffman, Jared Platt, Dan Rest, Greg Mahan