League of American Orchestras Awards Grants to 21 U.S. Orchestras Incubating Innovation

League of American Orchestras Awards Grants to 21 U.S. Orchestras Incubating Innovation

League of American Orchestras Awards Grants to 21 U.S. Orchestras Incubating Innovation

The League of American Orchestras has announced the award of grants to 21 U.S. orchestras. The grants, in the amount of $80,000-$150,000 each, focus on an array of programs incubating organizational innovation and experimentation. The two-year innovation grants, part of the recently launched American Orchestras' Future Fund, are made possible by the generous support of the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation.

The initiatives funded in this round include a wide range of innovation efforts, from community and neighborhood residencies, programs redefining the concert experience, and initiatives aimed at increasing audience diversity, to piloting new organizational practices, fruitful artistic collaborations, and the use of new technologies within the concert hall. Descriptions of the initiatives to be supported through the Futures Fund can be found here.

"These twenty-one orchestras from across the country were chosen for their ability to influence a positive future for the art form. They are making significant and exciting investments in organizational learning and innovation," said Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras. "We are grateful to the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation for their visionary support of this new program."

"We are delighted by the diversity and reach of the twenty-one initiatives chosen in the first round of the American Orchestras' Futures Fund," said Lisa Delan, Director, the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation. "The Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation is deeply appreciative of the opportunity to collaborate with the League of American Orchestras on this program, and for the vision and courageousness of its member orchestras in exploring new ways to impact their communities, field-wide learning, and the future of classical music."

The $4.5 million American Orchestras' Future Fund program will include another round of two-year grants for small- and medium-budget orchestras, to be announced in 2018.

For this first round, U.S.-based large- and medium-budget orchestras that are members of the League of American Orchestras were eligible to apply. An independent review panel selected the orchestras based on criteria including the organization's capacity to respond and adapt to opportunities and changed circumstances, and the potential for artistic, internal, community, public value, and field-wide impact. The program and evaluation consultants for the American Orchestras' Futures Fund are, respectively, Sarah Lutman (Lutman & Associates) and Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf (WolfBrown).


This round's Futures Fund recipients include:

Albany Symphony - expansion of the American Music Festival, the Symphony's multi-day celebration of living American composers and new orchestral compositions

Boston Symphony Orchestra - launch of BSO in Residence, an engagement initiative to build reciprocal partnerships between neighborhoods and the orchestra

Dallas Symphony Orchestra - support for three audience development initiatives: DSO Teen Council, ReMix concert series, and SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival

Detroit Symphony Orchestra - expansion of the Neighborhood Residency Initiative, in order to connect more deeply with audiences and diversify learning and service

Handel and Haydn Society - launch of research that will test hypotheses about barriers to attendance and identify strategies for increasing the racial diversity of the audience

Houston Symphony - support for the Community-Embedded Musicians initiative, which expands the orchestra's team of full-time musicians by adding four new hybrid positions

Knoxville Symphony - launch of UnStaged, a series to attract new concert goers, and support of the Music & Wellness program, which enhances the healing process

Los Angeles Philharmonic - expansion of the El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) in order to increase its national as well as local impact

Minnesota Orchestra - enhancement of The Minnesota Model, a framework to address organizational priorities and create shared ownership among all orchestra stakeholders

Nashville Symphony - support for the diversity plan, including inventive programming, preparing young musicians of diverse backgrounds, and altering the organizational culture

New Haven Symphony Orchestra - launch of a string fellowship program to encourage inclusion and diversity in the concert hall and across the community

New World Symphony - support for audience development: a collaboratively sourced symphonic video involving community residents, and musician-driven concerts and events

New York Philharmonic - support for Facebook Live broadcasts to reach new and diverse audiences around the world through performances, interviews, and online conversation

Oakland Symphony - launch of Playlist, blending a concert with a town hall experience to explore the unexpected role music plays beyond the concert stage

Orchestra of St. Luke's - support for Classical Music Made Digital, an initiative for creating a content strategy and distribution model informed by other musical genres and art forms

Pacific Symphony - support for engaging an increasingly diverse community, including continuing experimentation with site-specific concerts and partnership-based programming

Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) - expansion of the PSO Explorers program, an arts-integrated literacy program in the Portland Public Schools that will serve grades K-3

Richmond Symphony - support for several community programs including the Big Tent Project, which brings music to green spaces, and the VIBE afterschool music program

San Diego Symphony - support for engaging a diverse community, including annual month-long festivals designed around thematic ideas addressing important issues of today.

San Francisco Symphony - support for SoundBox, a concert series in an experimental space that enables the audience to approach classical music in a new way

Seattle Symphony - expansion of the Simple Gifts homelessness initiative, including programs for people recovering from addiction and programs for women and children


Find more detailed program descriptions here.

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