League of American Orchestras

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The League of American Orchestras, formerly the American Symphony Orchestra League, is a North American Musical Organization consisting of a network of approximately 800 orchestras. “Dedicated to helping orchestras meet the challenges of the twenty-first century,” the League consists of leading symphony and philharmonic orchestras, collegiate orchestras, community ensembles, and youth and student ensembles. The only national organization devoted and focused on elevating the orchestra industry, the League was founded in 1942 and later chartered by Congress in 1962. The League creates a network of all facets of the industry, including administrators, managers, board members, business partners, volunteers, and musicians. Each year this organization presents two awards: the Gold Baton Award and the Helen M. Thompson Award. The League affects the orchestral world through several outreach experiences, dedicated advocacy to music education and especially orchestral education, and maintaining and communicating a breadth of information and pertinent topics in publications. It has also developed detailed antitrust policy and guidelines in order to comply with the landscape of the industry.[1] The League is a leading force in work on legislation regarding orchestras and support for the arts.[2]

Current Logo

Organizational structure and leadership[1][edit]

2012-2013 Officers

  • Lowell J. Noteboom, chair
  • Patricia A. Richards, vice chair
  • Cate Moye, secretary
  • Bruce E. Clinton, treasurer
  • Jesse Rosen, president and CEO

2012-2013 Board of Directors

  • Burton Alter, Woodbridge, CT
  • Alberta Arthurs, New York, NY
  • Brent Assink, San Francisco, CA
  • Audrey G. Baird, Milwaukee, WI
  • Malcolm McDougal Brown, M.D., Winston-Salem, NC
  • John B. Canning, Westport, CT
  • Katherine Carleton, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Roland Marvin Carter, Chattanooga, TN
  • Richard M. Cisek, North Oaks, MN
  • Melanie Clarke, Princeton, NJ
  • Peter D. Cummings, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Gloria dePasquale, Narbeth, PA
  • Helen J. DeVos, Manalapan, FL
  • Aaron Dworkin, Detroit, MI
  • Angelo M. Fatta, Buffalo, NY
  • David V. Foster, New York, NY
  • Edward B. Gill, San Diego, CA
  • Marian Godfrey, Philadelphia, PA
  • Jim Hasler, Oakland, CA
  • John Hayes, Denver, CO
  • Jennifer Higdon, Philadelphia, PA
  • Rhonda P. Hunsinger, Lexington, SC
  • Mark Jung, Menlo Park, CA
  • Wendy Kelman, Los Angeles, CA
  • Camille D. LaBarre, New York, NY
  • Robert Levine, Glendale, WI
  • Hugh W. Long, New Orleans, LA
  • James Mabie, Chicago, IL
  • Zarin Mehta, New York, NY
  • David Alan Miller, Albany, NY
  • John Palmer, Cincinnati, OH
  • Steven C. Parrish, Westport, CT
  • Anne Parsons, Detroit, MI
  • Mary Patton, New York, NY
  • Steven Payne, San Antonio, TX
  • Robert A. Peiser, Houston, TX
  • Richard T. Prins, New York, NY
  • Jesse Rosen, New York, NY
  • Robert B. Rosoff, Glens Falls, NY
  • Deborah F. Rutter, Chicago, IL
  • Barry A. Sanders, Beverly Hills, CA
  • Cynthia M. Sargent, Chicago, IL
  • Helen Shaffer, Houston, TX
  • Jamie Steinemann, Sandusky, OH
  • Penny Van Horn, Chicago, IL
  • Robert J. Wagner, Boonton, NJ
  • Christina Ward, St. Louis, MO
  • Albert K. Webster, New York, NY


Leadership and development[edit]

Because the orchestra industry landscape is a vastly changing environment, the League provides resources for ongoing professional development.[3] Examples of these resources include: Statement of Common Cause: Orchestras Support In-School Music Education Assessing Financial Health Learning from New Ensembles


The League is devoted to increasing the awareness of and access to orchestral music. By representing orchestras before Congress, the organization acts on legislative policies.[4] It provides resources including: Are You Listening The 2013 Policy Landscape: 5 Things You Need to Know Now


The League provides resources in its career center, including sections on seeking career guidance, finding jobs and internships, league programs and resources, and who works in orchestras and what they do.[5]


Besides the League’s National Conference, it provides at least thirty other meetings at the notional, regional, and local level. In addition to the resources provided by the League, these meetings and conferences provide the most current information, trends, policies, and successful practices in the orchestra industry.[6]

Youth and education[edit]

The League recognizes the importance of music education in growing, promoting, and sustaining American orchestras.[7] It provides information regarding El Sistema, Getty Foundation Grants,[8] and the development of American youth orchestras. It has created and maintained an entire division of its operation to youth orchestras, including directors from across the country. This division, the Youth Orchestra Division or YOD, has its own separate leadership, including some of the nations most influential voices in music education and youth orchestra development. The YOD also publishes Upbeat, a newsletter dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of America's many youth orchestras and provide support for these organizations. Published biannually, the most recent issue of Upbeat, the Spring 2013 issue, illuminates the successes of American youth orchestras. These successes include the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras reaching out to over 2,500 Chicago students and educators during two educational concerts, and the Empire State Youth Orchestra's extremely profitable "Playathon," which brought in almost $20,000 in profit for the ESYO's efforts throughout their season.[9] In addition to the important information brought forth by this publication, League CEO, Jesse Rosen, and vice president for advocacy, Heather Noonan, composed a viable resource in advocacy for music education entitled "Enough" Is Not Enough. Within this writing, Rosen and Noonan present the current picture of music education in the United States, where although the arts are considered a core subject by federal law, it still does not receive this treatment in American schools. They also claim those students who could be influenced the most by a health arts education, especially music, do not have reliable access to such an education in the arts.[10]

Youth Orchestra Division directors[edit]


Vice Chair

  • Steven Murray: Executive Director, Youth Symphony of Kansas City


Upbeat Editor


  • Elizabeth Camus: Woodwind Ensemble Coach, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
  • Marjorie Gould Hahn: Executive & Music Director, South Florida Youth Symphony
  • Bruce Kiesling: Youth Orchestra Los Angeles conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Charles R. Moore: Executive Director, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra
  • Sonja Noteboom: Board Member, MacPhail Center for Music
  • Evan Richards: President, Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras
  • Joshua Simonds: Executive Director, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras
  • Christopher Stanichar: Music Director, South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra
  • Melody Welsh Buchholz: Executive Director, Louisville Youth Orchestra
  • Richard Yaklich: Principal conductor/string coordinator/composer, South Florida Youth Orchestra


Communication to members and representing the drive of the League is presented through several sources, including newsletters and an award-winning publication Symphony Magazine. Specifically, these publications include:[11]

  • Board Notes
  • Education/Community Engagement Newsletter
  • Press Releases
  • Symphony Magazine
  • Technology News of Notes
  • Upbeat Youth Orchestra Newsletter
  • Volunteer Notes


The League now presents two awards for service to American Orchestras. Given annually since 1948, the Gold Baton is the League's highest honor.[12] As seen by browsing the list of past recipients,[13] the scope of the type of recipients is quite broad, awarding those who have supported and inspired the growth of symphonic music on a broad level. Honoring the service of Mrs. Helen M. Thompson as chief staff executive of the league from 1950 to 1970, the Helen M. Thompson Award recognizes outstanding leadership from directors and executives.[14]

The Gold Baton Award past recipients[edit]

  • 2017 Ann Hobson Pilot
  • 2016 Kris Sinclair
  • 2015 Anne-Marie Soullière
  • 2014 Wayne S. Brown
  • 2013 Don Randel
  • 2012 Helen J. DeVos
  • 2011 Fred Zenone, American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio
  • 2010 Ford Motor Company Fund, Nation’s Smaller-Budget Orchestras
  • 2009 Henry Fogel
  • 2008 America’s youth orchestras
  • 2007 Kenneth Schermerhorn
  • 2006 John Williams
  • 2005 Leonard Slatkin, The National Arts Caucus
  • 2004 Walter Anderson, Seymour Rosen
  • 2003 Michael Tilson Thomas, Gordon Getty
  • 2002 Paul R. Judy
  • 2001 Adolph Herseth
  • 2000 Pierre Boulez
  • 1999 Peter Pastreich
  • 1998 Ernest Fleischmann
  • 1997 Catherine French
  • 1996 Audrey Baird
  • 1995 Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • 1994 Josef Gingold
  • 1993 New York Philharmonic
  • 1992 Meet the Composer
  • 1991 Robert Ward
  • 1990 Carnegie Hall
  • 1989 Ralph Black
  • 1988 Robert Shaw
  • 1987 Isaac Stern, Betty Freeman
  • 1986 Margaret Lee Crofts, Paul Fromm, and Francis Goelet
  • 1985 William Schuman
  • 1984 Danny Newman, Merrill Lynch
  • 1983 Morton Gould
  • 1982 Sidney R. Yates
  • 1981 Maurice Abravanel
  • 1980 Beverly Sills, The Minnesota Five Percent Club
  • 1979 Eugene Ormandy, The Bell System
  • 1978 Aaron Copland, Exxon Corporation
  • 1977 Avery Fisher, Alcoa Foundation
  • 1976 Arthur Fiedler
  • 1975 John S. Edwards
  • 1974 Nancy Hanks and the National Council on the Arts
  • 1973 Danny Kaye
  • 1972 Amyas Ames
  • 1971 Martha Baird Rockefeller
  • 1970 Helen M. Thompson
  • 1969 The New York State Council on the Arts
  • 1968 Leopold Stokowski, Mrs. Jouett Shouse
  • 1967 American Telephone & Telegraph Company
  • 1966 The Ford Foundation
  • 1965 American Federation of Musicians
  • 1964 Dr. Richard Lert, Paul Mellon, A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trusts, Richard King Mellon Charitable Trust, Howard Heinz Endowment
  • 1963 John D. Rockefeller, III
  • 1962 The Women’s Associations of Symphony Orchestras in the United States and Canada
  • 1961 Arthur Judson
  • 1960 Charles Farnsley
  • 1959 Leonard Bernstein
  • 1958 The Study Committee on Orchestra Legal Documents: Samuel Rosenbaum, Henry B. Cabot, Dudley T. Easby, Jr., Charles Garside, and Henry Allen Moe
  • 1956 Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post
  • 1952 John B. Ford
  • 1948 Ernest La Prade

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  2. ^ "American Symphony Orchestra League - Grove Music". Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  3. ^ "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  4. ^ "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  5. ^ "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  6. ^ "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Youth, Education, and Community". americanorchestras.org. League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  8. ^ "Orchestras League Awarded $4.5 Million for New Grant Program". Philanthropy News Digest. October 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  12. ^ "League awards". americanorchestras.org. League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  13. ^ "Gold Baton Award". americanorchestras.org. League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  14. ^ "Helen M. Thompson, 66, Dead; Ex‐Head of Orchestra League". The New York Times. June 26, 1974. p. 46. Retrieved 2018-08-01.

External links[edit]