This month the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is hosting the 67th National Conference of the League of American Orchestras, our industry’s “go-to” event. Nearly 1000 managers, trustees, musicians, and volunteers from our 850 member orchestras will gather at Meyerson Symphony Center to celebrate the DSO’s brilliant music making under music director Jaap van Zweden, and will meet nearby to highlight innovative new approaches orchestras are embarking on in programming, community engagement and audience building.
Nationwide, arts and cultural organizations are being challenged to attract and engage broader audiences amid changing public tastes and expectations. The orchestra field is responding by upending the traditional concert model in exciting new ways. Orchestras are embracing their communities and taking the music beyond the concert stage into more intimate neighborhood venues, as well as schools, hospitals and other community locations. They are experimenting with dramatically lower ticket prices, streaming their music online, and hundreds of other inventive ideas.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is doing this with its new series DSO on the Go. Next season, the full orchestra will perform classical and pops programs in seven North Texas communities, including Greenville, Allen, Southlake, Frisco, Denton, Mansfield, and North Oak Cliff, opening avenues for new audience interactions and expanded corporate and donor support. At the Meyerson, the DSO has consolidated its concert season to better reflect audience demand, and has adjusted ticket prices and is seating audiences closer to the stage to stimulate a more intimate and exciting concert experience.
Our art form is not just a two-hour event in a 2000-seat performance hall one or two nights a week. It is a rich tapestry of musical experience that can and must be available to the community whether you come to the concert hall or not. It must be easily accessible and reach people where they want to be and when they want to experience it. It must be woven into the community fabric and be part of community events and celebrations.
Innovation, community engagement, and sustainability are therefore the themes of our conference this year. Keynote speakers from the auto industry will discuss lessons they have learned, and we’ll hear perspectives on innovation from inside and outside our field. We will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the DSO’s Young Strings program, which nurtures the talent and helps transform the lives of outstanding Latino and African-American students in the City of Dallas. And we will learn about the passions and concerns of the next generation of orchestra musicians and leaders.
The League of American Orchestras’ 40-person staff in New York and Washington D.C., and its 50-member Board of Directors are dedicated to doing everything in our power to give America’s orchestras the learning, tools, training and techniques they need not only to survive but to thrive in these exciting times. We are delighted to be partnering with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in their vibrant home city for this important industry gathering.
–JESSE ROSEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO
League of American Orchestras
The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. its diverse membership of approximately 850 orchestras across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles. founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners.