League of American Orchestras Hosts 2014 National Conference in Seattle - Highlights!

League of American Orchestras Hosts 2014 National Conference in Seattle - Highlights!

The League of American Orchestras' National Conference, hosted by the Seattle Symphony, began with a riveting keynote address by flutist Claire Chase on re-imagining the orchestra, and concluded with a media frenzy and a viral video: Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony's Sonic Evolution concert featuring world premieres by Luis Tinocco, Du Yun, and Gabriel Prokofiev, and spotlighting Sir Mix-A-Lot's now-famous orchestral rendition of "Baby Got Back."

From June 4-6, 2014, nearly 1000 orchestra administrators, musicians, volunteers, and board members came together to experience musical performances, events, and sessions presented by thought leaders, industry experts and beyond. The League has posted Conference highlights here.

Keynote Speeches

In her provocative opening session keynote address, flutist Claire Chase recounted the early days of ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), the musical group she founded, and shared her vision of orchestras: "The word 'orchestra,' in ancient Greece, meant 'a dancing place.' What if orchestras of the 21st century could revisit this most ancient part of their stories and be, literally, an open space? ...a space that houses musicians not as interpreters but as catalysts for change; that inspires administrators to be alchemists, synergists; and welcomes audience members not as consumers but as participants in a dialogue about our pulsating art form and its newest expressive means." Watch opening session videos here.

Building upon Chase's "tantalizing glimpse of an alternative universe," WolfBrown Principal Alan Brown's closing session keynote focused on new research capturing the the six elements of creative capacity: characteristics of organizations that present and produce meaningful arts programs. The "vitality of the arts sector as a whole, and certainly the orchestra field, depends on the collective ability of our creative leaders to continually produce interesting, fun, educational, surprising and imaginative programs... [Building] the next generation of concertgoers is, first and foremost, a programming challenge." Watch closing session videos here.

In his address at the League's annual meeting, League President and CEO Jesse Rosen's state-of-the-field overview underscored the connections between time and place as reflected in orchestra programming, finances, diversity, and artistry. He celebrated programming that reveals "creativity emerging from a deep sense of place" and emphasized that sense of place also encompasses the financial arena: "challenges and opportunities in your local market are at least as important, if not more so, than benchmarks compared to orchestras in other communities." Rosen urged orchestra leaders to "prioritize diversity and inclusion work," and to "support the entrepreneurs already playing in our orchestras, from the videographers creating content for their orchestras' websites to the ambassadors building new community relationships." Watch Jesse Rosen's address here.

Awards and Honors