Back to All Events

The American Orchestras’ Futures Fund Forum

  • Omni Hotel Nashville 250 5th Ave S Nashville, TN 37203 (map)

Location: Broadway Ballroom K, Level Two

The American Futures Fund Forum

The inaugural American Orchestras’ Futures Fund Forum will convene the recipients of Futures Fund grants for a townhall format exchange of knowledge, ideas, and discoveries. Through peer-led conversations, participants will share the opportunities that emerged and challenges that they tackled in undertaking some of the most innovative work in U.S. orchestras today.

This peer-led program will be anchored by three panel discussions on themes that recurred in the League’s conversations with grantees and that were put forth in the reports:

How do we break down silos?

A culture of innovation demands that teams reconsider their roles in new ways. It renegotiates the organizational chart and transcends hierarchical and functional designations. Unencumbered, observations and ideas proliferate. Solutions emerge at the junctures where expertise and specializations intersect.

This conversation will explore the ways in which grantees reconsidered their departments and built working groups that collaborated in ways unimagined by an organizational chart.

How do we measure success?

Almost definitionally, innovative work defies the reductive logics of our historic metrics, and evades the cleanliness. Beyond revenue and ticket sales is the change that we are making within our orchestra, within our communities, and in the world. This conversation will explore how we evaluate the vitality, vibrancy, and impact of our work.

How do we sustain our work?

Experimentation often requires moving outside of an organizational comfort zone. It challenges staff to assume new (and sometimes additional) responsibilities and it tests organizational capacities. Experimentation puts forward new logistical, financial, and conceptual considerations. It calls your team to transcend their responsibilities and drive paths unhewn by the routinization of your standard operating procedures.

But, when you get it right, the effect is the magical realization of what previously seemed aspirational: the work transforms lives, invigorates your team, and demonstrates the impact that your orchestra can deliver. This conversation will explore how we can keep the momentum going, avoid burnout, foster resilience, and develop business models that make the work financially sustainable.


All orchestras that have received funding through the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund may send delegates to participate in this convening. Participating in the Forum is free of charge. A limited number of travel stipends are available for grantees to attend. A special rate is available for program-level staff who participate in this convening and who also wish to attend Conference.

For questions regarding the Forum, please contact Karen Yair, Vice President, Knowledge, Learning, and Leadership at


Speakers: Christopher Adriance, marketing and loyalty programs manager, Pacific Symphony; Angela Carter, development director, clarinetist, Tulsa Symphony; Jennifer Harrell, director of education and community partnerships, Knoxville Symphony; Meiko Hatano, executive director, Oakland Symphony; Jeremy Jolley, artistic collaborations manager, Seattle Symphony; Pamela Kihnley, director of fund development, EPSO Tocando liason; El Paso Symphony Orchestra; Anna Kuwabara, executive director, Albany Symphony Orchestra; Susan Lape, executive director, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras; Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, principal researcher, WolfBrown; James Roe, President & Executive Director, Orchestra of St. Luke’s ; Jesse Rosen, president and CEO, League of American Orchestras

The American Orchestras' Futures Fund is made possible by a generous grant from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation

Earlier Event: June 3
Foundations of Collective Bargaining
Later Event: June 3
Music Alive Cohort Convening