At the League’s 74th National Conference, we will place music, musicians, and composers at the center of our conversations, recognizing that their voices and their work bring creativity, innovation, and inspiration to orchestras’ continuing adaptation to a rapidly changing world. We will explore the new frontiers of “excellence” that last year’s keynote speakers, and indeed, our environment, call upon us to pursue. We will continue to embrace the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion that must remain in the forefront of our national conversation and action.

Featured Speakers

Featured speakers listed in alphabetical order.

Photo courtesy of MA2LA

Photo courtesy of MA2LA

Giancarlo Guerrero

Music Director, Martha & Bronson Ingram Music Director Chair, Nashville Symphony

Giancarlo Guerrero is a six-time Grammy Award-winning conductor now in his tenth season as music director of the Nashville Symphony. Guerrero is also music director of the Wrocław Philharmonic at the National Forum of Music in Poland and principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. Guerrero is widely praised for his instinctive musicianship and for bringing to the podium “not only vitality and insight but also an appealing physical dynamism” (The Plain Dealer).

Photo by Jared Platt

Photo by Jared Platt

Alex Laing

Principal Clarinet, Phoenix Symphony

An accomplished instrumental artist, Alex Laing began playing the clarinet at age 11 in his hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland. In 2002 he joined The Phoenix Symphony as principal clarinet.

Laing's work represents a modern take on orchestral practice. Active in his community as a performing and teaching artist, he is committed to exploring how an orchestral musician—and an orchestra—navigates the push and pull between a legacy art form and its unfixed future.

Photo by Michael Provost

Photo by Michael Provost

Tania León

Composer & CONDUCTOR; Founding artistic director, composers now

Tania León is a highly regarded composer and conductor recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations. She has been the subject of profiles on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Univision, and Telemundo, and in independent films.

Her honors include the 2018 US Artist Fellowship, the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Eileen Southern Distinguished Visitor, Harvard University as well as doctorate degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin, and SUNY Purchase.

Photo by Bernie Mindich

Photo by Bernie Mindich

Joan Tower

Composer; Asher Edelman Professor of Music, Bard College; 2019 Gold Baton Recipient

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than fifty years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, Paul Neubauer, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Nashville, Albany NY, and Washington DC among others. Tower was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of 65 orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra).

Elective & Constituency Speakers



Liz Alsina

Founder, Canarii Solutions

Speaking at The Catalyst Fund Forum

Liz S. Alsina follows two work streams that align with her core values. She is the founder of Canarii Solutions, and is a Senior Program Officer with the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group (WPPG). Ms. Alsina founded Canarii Solutions in 2018 as a means of conducting research, facilitating productive dialogue, and working with select clients that have an authentic commitment to advancing equity in classical music. At WPPG, she supports the philanthropic vision of a portfolio of Walton family members with projects that support dynamic communities through the advancement of the arts, the conservation of greenspace and outdoor resources, and the development of new initiatives to support diversity and inclusion. Prior to WPPG, Ms. Alsina was a Program Associate in the Arts and Cultural Heritage Program at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation where she managed a portfolio of nearly 100 active grants with a special emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in music. Before becoming a grantmaker, Ms. Alsina was a fundraiser, serving as director of institutional giving at Roundabout Theatre Company, Florida Grand Opera, and TheatreworksUSA, where she also served as director of development. She received a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied classical voice, and a Masters in Fine Arts from Yale University where she studied arts management; she also completed a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University. Ms. Alsina is also an educator in arts management and philanthropy and was an adjunct lecturer at Wagner College and Marymount Manhattan College.

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Rafael Baldwin

Digital Media Storyteller, New World Symphony; Professor of VR/360º Immersive Storytelling, University of Miami

Speaking at The Immersive Orchestra: Leveraging New Technology in A/R & V/R.

Rafael Baldwin is a single, multi-camera, and VR/360° immersive television director and producer working at the intersection of filmmaking, sound and music production, computer programming, and human interaction. 

Baldwin is New World Symphony’s digital media storyteller and professor of VR/360º Immersive storytelling at the University of Miami. As a television producer, he has been responsible for news coverage and special transmissions of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards; the Cannes, Venice, Berlin, San Sebastian, Sundance Europe, and London film festivals; The Royal Wedding in Britain; the Coronation of King Philip VI of Spain; the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; and the NFL at Wembley. His work has been featured on media outlets such as ESPN, BBC, Variety Latino, Univision Networks, and Televisa Media Group. As a news producer, he has been in charge of interviews with politicians, musicians, celebrities, and athletes such as George Clooney; Sandra Bullock; the Rolling Stones; Scorpions; Michael Phelps; Usain Bolt; Roger Federer; former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Lech Walesa, among others. 

Baldwin has an MA in Screen Documentary from Goldsmiths, University of London, an MMus in Composition for Screen from the Royal College of Music in London, and an MFA in Interactive Media from the University of Miami.

Follow Rafael on LinkedIn.

Photo by Pak Tangchalermkul

Photo by Pak Tangchalermkul

J. Andrés Ballesteros

Artistic Advisor, Eureka Ensemble

Speaking at Check This Out!

J. Andrés Ballesteros (b. 1991) is the artistic advisor for Eureka Ensemble and teaches at the Boston Arts Academy. Based in Cambridge, MA, Ballesteros is passionate about expanding the diversity of orchestral repertoire and recently served as a panelist at the 2018 League of American Orchestras National Conference in Chicago to speak about his work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other organizations.

He received his B.A. in Music from Harvard University, where he studied with composers Chaya Czernowin, Hans Tutschku, Edgar Barroso, and Trevor Bača. He has also studied at the European American Musical Alliance (EAMA) in Paris; at the highSCORE festival in Pavia, Italy; and at the Harvard Summer Composition Institute. Ballesteros has written for a range of professional, amateur, and educational ensembles as well as for a variety of media, including a documentary, several short films, and e-books.

Recent composition projects include a quartet and upcoming orchestral work co-composed with immigrant youth in Chelsea, MA, with the Eureka Ensemble; a choral arrangement celebrating refugees for the Boston Arts Academy; and the score for the documentary “The Time is Already”, directed by Selene Means.

Follow Andrés on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Ignacio Barrón-Viela

Executive Director, Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale

Speaking at Check This Out!

Originally from Spain, Ignacio Barrón Viela was born in Zaragoza, where he studied music and engineering. He holds studies in classical music performance (cello) and has been playing in orchestras and managing music and orchestra projects worldwide. He also holds a Master of Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Zaragoza and in July 2018 completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, with an emphasis in arts leadership, through the Thornton School of Music.

Barrón Viela has several years of professional experience both in the energy and music sectors. He has worked in Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States for two of the largest private, investor-owned energy companies operating worldwide. As senior management consultant and project manager, he has focused in the area of performance management and operational excellence by executing strategic best practices.

Barrón Viela worked as an orchestra manager and has been involved in managing, planning, designing and coordinating orchestra tours with the Heinrich Heine Orchestra in Dusseldorf, Germany. He raised money for the orchestra and led planning and coordination with Youth International Festivals in Europe. Most recently, he completed the Essentials of Orchestra Management course, which is run by the League of American Orchestras and is regarded as the world’s gold standard of orchestra management training.

Warm, energetic, and engaging, Barrón Viela joined the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale as executive director in December 2018. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, basketball, socializing with friends, and learning and engaging with others.

Follow Ignacio on LinkedIn.

Photo by Carrie Olin

Photo by Carrie Olin

Daryn Bauer

Community Engagement Manager, The Florida Orchestra

Speaking at Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community.

Daryn Bauer joined The Florida Orchestra as community engagement manager in September 2016. During his time at TFO, he has led music curriculum development for youth concerts that reach over 25,000 students and teachers each season. Bauer also created TFO’s first ever Pride Weekend celebration, in which the orchestra collaborated with local LGBTQ+ organizations to actively invite that community to their concert halls.

Bauer received a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he also received a certificate in arts leadership. He has held administrative positions with the Grammy-nominated ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston, Young Audiences of Houston, and Writers in the Schools.

Follow Daryn on LinkedIn.


Kelley Bell

Education & Community Engagement Program Manager, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at Musicians and Audiences with Disabilities: Making Inclusion the Heart of your Orchestra.

Kelley Bell received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Centre College, where she also began pursuing a career in nonprofit performing arts. Her background spans a broad spectrum of organizations, including the Danville Community Arts Center, River North Chicago Dance Company, the Great American Brass Band Festival, and the Norton Center for the Arts. She first joined the Nashville Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement Department in 2011. Bell spearheaded the Nashville Symphony’s sensory friendly concerts and the overall expansion of accessibility supports. She has been trained by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) to lead staff and volunteer training sessions, and she is the Nashville Symphony’s representative in the Inclusion Network of Nashville, a network created and led by TRIAD to connect, support, and educate local nonprofit organizations in accessibility programming and inclusion.

Follow Kelley on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Photo by Lindsay Hale

Photo by Lindsay Hale

Aubrey Bergauer

Executive Director, California Symphony

Speaking at New Strategies for Success in Audience Research and Development

Aubrey Bergauer defies trends, and then makes her own. In a time when many arts organizations are finding it more and more difficult to meet rising ticket, subscription, and fundraising goals, Bergauer has dramatically increased earned and contributed revenue at organizations of all sizes. Her focus on not just engaging—but retaining—new audiences grew Seattle Opera’s BRAVO! Club (for audience members in their 20's and 30's) to the largest group of its kind nationwide, led the Bumbershoot Festival to achieve an unprecedented 43% increase in revenue, and propelled the California Symphony to nearly double the size of its audience and quadruple the donor base.

A graduate of Rice University with degrees in Music Performance and Business, Bergauer is praised for her leadership which “points the way to a new style of audience outreach,” (Wall Street Journal) and which drove the California Symphony to become “the most forward-looking music organization around” (Mercury News). Combined with instilling and achieving common goals across what are usually siloed marketing, development, and artistic departments, Bergauer’s ability to strategically and holistically examine and advance every facet of the organization is creating a transformational change in the audience, in the office, on the stage, in the community, and is changing the narrative for the classical music industry.

Follow Aubrey on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Jess Bergson

Senior Analyst, Capacity Interactive

Speaking at Website Tools and Skills for Data-driven Decision-making

Jess Bergson specializes in website analytics at Capacity Interactive, working with leading arts institutions including The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Public Theater, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and the Straz Center. Before joining CI, Bergson worked with the New York Musical Festival and Joey Parnes Productions. She earned a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama. In her free time, Bergson loves to cook and bake healthy food, exercise, and fantasize about getting a dog.

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Daniel Bernard Roumain


Speaking at New Voices: Composers of Today.

Daniel Bernard Roumain's acclaimed work as a composer and a violinist has spanned more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. Proving that he’s “about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover, and Lady Gaga

Follow Daniel on Twitter and Facebook.


Jane Best, Ph.D.

Director, Arts Education Partnership

Speaking at Walking the Walk: Why Music Education Matters.

Dr. Jane Best is the director of the Arts Education Partnership at Education Commission of the States in Denver, CO. She has extensive experience working among practitioners, policymakers, and researchers. She previously held leadership positions at McREL International, Learning Point Associates (now American Institutes for Research), and the National Conference of State Legislatures. She started her career in education as a high school French and ESL teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Best chairs the Windgate Advisory Board at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and has served on the board of directors of Knowledge Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition, trade associations that advocate for federal funding for education research and development. Best also served on the board of governors for the College of Education at The Ohio State University. She holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Follow Jane on Twitter and LinkedIn. Hear more from Arts Education partnership on Twitter.


Walter Bitner

Director of Education & Community Engagement, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at Walking the Walk: Why Music Education Matters.

Musician and writer Walter Bitner is the director of education and community engagement at the Nashville Symphony. He has led a multi-faceted career as a teacher and performer: a performing musician since childhood, Bitner is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, teacher, arranger/composer, and conductor. He has performed and studied a wide variety of music from nearly all periods of the Western art music tradition on piano, harpsichord, lute, recorder, and as a singer.

His teaching career (1991-2014) spans public and private schools in New York, Florida, and Nashville—from kindergarten through 12th grade—and included a broad array of music education formats including general music, choir, strings, piano, and music theory. He taught at alternative and progressive schools, traditional college preparatory schools, and a public arts magnet high school. He is Conductor Emeritus of Music City Youth Orchestra, which he founded and directed from 2007 – 2012.

Bitner holds a B.A. from Charter Oak State College, Connecticut, and he completed his teacher certification training in both vocal and instrumental music at Belmont University in Nashville. He has collaborated or performed with a wide variety of artists over the last three decades including Pete Seeger, Tracy Silverman, Jeff Coffin, The Chieftains, Music City Baroque, the Nashville Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and the Nashville Concerto Orchestra. He writes about music and education on his website, Off The Podium.

Follow Walter on LinkedIn.



President-Elect, Conductors Guild, Inc.

Speaking at In Collaboration with the Conductors Guild: Behind the Curtain, The Conductor Search Process

Christopher Blair is a partner at AKUSTIKS, based in Norwalk, CT, where he specializes in the acoustic design of concert halls, opera houses, and theaters. Current or recently completed projects include the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony; the Juliet Rosch Recital Hall for SUNY-Fredonia; new additions to the Cleveland Institute of Music; renovations to the Boston Opera House; renovations and additions at the Eastman School of Music; and other major projects in the USA, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Columbia, Chile, and Brazil. Some of his important projects prior to his work at AKUSTIKS include Singapore’s Esplanade Performing Arts Centre; Lucerne’s Cultural and Congress Centre; the City of Culture in Galicia, Spain; and Brazil’s famous Sala Sāo Paulo.

Following undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont, Blair earned Master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the New England Conservatory and in Acoustics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Early professional conducting appointments included the music directorships of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra of Boston, the South End Symphony and Choral Society, the Melrose (MA) Symphony Orchestra, the Brown University Orchestra (where he was also chairman of the string program), and the position of artistic director of the Boston Light Opera.

In recent years, Blair has appeared in concert with the Bolivian National Orchestra, the Porto Alegre (Brazil) Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony, the Tianjin (China) Symphony Orchestra, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the Vidin (Bulgaria) Philharmonic, and the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. In the course of his acoustical consulting activities, he has also led rehearsals of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

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Steven Brosvik

COO, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at General Managers & Operations Constituency Meeting: Center Stage at the Schermerhorn

Steven Brosvik is the chief operating officer of the Nashville Symphony, collaborating with the orchestra, artistic, concert operations and production, education and community engagement, fundraising, marketing, and communications teams. One of his primary external tasks is developing artistic and community partnerships with other Nashville organizations. Prior to arriving in Nashville in April 2015, Brosvik was the general manager of the Houston Symphony responsible for all concert planning and operations, education and community engagement, and touring and was the liaison to the City of Houston. Prior to his work in Houston, he was the executive director of the San Antonio Symphony, vice president and general manager of the Baltimore Symphony, and an alumnus of the League of American Orchestras Management Fellowship Program. Before working with orchestras, he spent ten years with Northwest and KLM Royal Dutch airlines, starting in customer service and finally managing the team tasked with rerouting passengers due to operational disruptions. Brosvik graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota with a degree in Music Business, and studied piano performance and Dalcroze pedagogy in New York with Dr. Robert Abramson.

Photo by Lydia Kearney Carlis

Photo by Lydia Kearney Carlis

Lisa Brown Alexander

Founding President & CEO, Nonprofit HR

Speaking at Creating a Culture of Respect in the Era of #MeToo.

Lisa Brown Alexander is the president and CEO of Nonprofit HR. Under her direction, Nonprofit HR has served some of the most prominent organizations in the country, including Goodwill Industries International, The American Society of Hematology, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

With more than two decades of human resource management experience working with nonprofits and for-profit organizations, Brown Alexander and her firm have proven that better HR can play an integral role in nonprofit success.

Brown Alexander is a Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award honoree, as well as a 2012 SmartCEO Magazine Brava! award recipient. And in March 2016, she was named to the list Power50 Women awarded by Walker’s Legacy. Brown Alexander currently serves on the board of directors of the DC Chamber of Commerce, Community Youth Advance (formerly Mentoring to Manhood) and the Prince Georges Cultural Arts Foundation. She is also an advisory board member with the Talent Philanthropy Project.

Follow Lisa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

Alan Brown

Principal, WolfBrown

Speaking at Diversifying Your Audience Through Innovative Programming.

Alan Brown, principal of WolfBrown, is a leading researcher and management consultant in the arts and culture sector worldwide. His work focuses on understanding consumer demand for cultural experiences and on helping cultural institutions, foundations, and agencies to see new opportunities, make informed decisions, and respond to changing conditions. His studies have introduced new vocabulary to the lexicon of cultural participation and propelled the field towards a clearer view of the rapidly changing cultural landscape. He speaks frequently at national and international conferences about audience behaviors, trends in cultural participation, and the value system surrounding arts experiences.


Fred Child

Host, Performance Today

Speaking at League Annual Meeting & Luncheon

Fred Child is the host of APM's Performance Today, the most-listened-to classical music radio show in America. Child is also the commentator and announcer for Live from Lincoln Center, the only live performing arts series on television. And he's co-host of Carnegie Hall Live, an annual series of a dozen live national radio broadcasts from America's premier musical venue. Child also appears at classical music festivals and events around the country, from PT's annual residency at the Aspen Music Festival and School, to special events at the Savannah Music festival, Marlboro Music, the Spoleto Festival USA, Summerfest La Jolla, and many more.

Beyond the world of classical music, Child hosted NPR's innovative "Creators@Carnegie," a program of wide-ranging performers in concert, including Brian Wilson, David Byrne, Dawn Upshaw, Youssou N'Dour, Caetano Veloso, Emmylou Harris, and others. Before going to NPR, Child was music director and director of cultural programming at WNYC in New York, host of a live daily performance and interview program on WNYC, and for ten years, a host at Oregon Public Broadcasting. For several years, Fred's pre-concert talks were a popular feature for the Washington Performing Arts Society, in Washington D.C., and for the Baltimore Symphony. He has given concert talks for Lincoln Center, the Aspen Festival, Summerfest La Jolla. and many other venues across the country.

In recent years, Child has hosted a series of unique live national concert broadcasts, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic from Walt Disney Hall, the Last Night of the Proms from the Royal Albert Hall in London, New Year's concerts by the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony at their summer home of Tanglewood, the ground-breaking "Spring for Music" concerts from Carnegie Hall, and the "Americana" series for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff. Child's music reviews have appeared on NPR's All Things Considered, and his music reports have appeared on NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. He's been a contributor to Billboard magazine, and a concert host and commentator for BBC Radio 3.

Follow Fred on Twitter.

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Corey Cowart

Executive Director, San Antonio Symphony

Speaking at Adaptable Fundraising Models for Orchestras of Any Size

A native of Houston, TX, Mr. Cowart holds a Bachelor of Music from University of Houston and a Master of Music from Yale University. Since January 2019, Mr. Cowart has served as the Executive Director for the San Antonio Symphony.

He began his career at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, where he served in four different development positions over six years. He served as Vice President of Development with Minnesota Opera and from 2015 through December 2018 as Executive Director of the Amarillo Symphony.

During his tenure with the Amarillo Symphony, Cowart and the Amarillo Symphony Board embarked on a new strategic plan to recapitalize the organization through expanding audience and donor bases. As a result of that plan, the Amarillo Symphony saw annual contributed income increase over 60%, earned revenue grow by 40%, and annual paid attendance increase by 35%.


Liane Curtis, Ph.D.

President, Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Speaking at Check This Out!

Dr. Liane Curtis founded Women's Philharmonic Advocacy in 2008 to continue the pioneering legacy of The Women's Philharmonic (1981-2004) by encouraging orchestras to program works by women. Since then the organization has offered grants, served as a resource of information, and helped musicians to connect with performing materials that are often difficult to find. Her Ph.D. in musicology helps her in uncovering the buried and neglected works of historic women, and she has written extensively on Rebecca Clarke and Amy Beach. Since 2017, WPA has also begun publishing a range of orchestral works by historical women.

Follow Liane on Twitter.

Photo by Daniel D'Ottavio

Photo by Daniel D'Ottavio

Julie Desbordes

Conductor, The Queer Urban Orchestra

Speaking at Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community.

Julie Desbordes conducts professional and community orchestras in North and South America, her native France, and Asia. Her recent international appearances as guest conductor include concerts in Venezuela, Cuba, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Her repertoire stands from master works to premieres of contemporary pieces.

Currently living in both New York City and Baltimore, she is the artistic director of two orchestras in New York City: the Turtle Bay Youth Orchestra and the Queer Urban Orchestra.

Desbordes harbors a passion for education and outreach. She is a leader in the El Sistema movement, being invited to conduct many El Sistema-inspired youth orchestras internationally, having been runner-up for the directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra program (YOLA), and being a featured guest at El Sistema programs nationwide, as well as being featured in a powerful documentary about El Sistema-inspired programs in the US: “Crescendo! The Power of Music” (available on Netflix), by Jamie Bernstein (daughter of Leonard Bernstein).

Desbordes made her conducting debut in France with l’Harmonie Municipale de Limoges at age 17. Since then she worked internationally, including debuting on the Asian professional scene in 2016 with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur. Equally committed to developing new audiences for classical music, she presents numerous innovative programs each season; for example “We are One” this past season with QUO, when regular concerts were paired with outreach performances in which the audience and musicians sat together as one unit to co-create their experience.

Desbordes holds multiple degrees in both conducting and trumpet from three different music conservatoires: Limoges, Bordeaux, and Montreal. Her conducting teachers have included Raffi Armenian and Gustav Meier. She will complete her Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where she studies with Marin Alsop.


Shira Dickstein

Director of Business Development, Capacity Interactive

Speaking at How Do Your Digital Marketing Strategies Compare to Those of Your Peers?

Shira Dickstein joined the Capacity Interactive team after working in development at UJA-Federation of New York and then completing an MA in Arts Administration at Columbia University, during which time she held internships at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Public Theater. Before stepping into business development, Dickstein led a consulting team at Capacity Interactive. She worked with a wide ranging array of clients, including The Kennedy Center and the National Symphony Orchestra, Jacob's Pillow Dance, The Walker Art Center, and Carolina Performing Arts. Outside the office Dickstein can be found wandering around museums, reading a novel, at a yoga class, or on a spin bike.

Photo by Keitaro Harada

Photo by Keitaro Harada

David Fisk

Executive Director, Richmond Symphony

Speaking at Behind the Curtain: The Conductor Search Process (in collaboration with Conductors Guild).

David Fisk joined the Richmond Symphony as its executive director in 2002. Born in England, he became a US citizen in 2014. Before moving to the States, Fisk was chief executive of the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, the national symphony of Northern Ireland. Prior to that, he led a chamber orchestra in London, a sculpture park in Yorkshire, and an international arts festival in Manchester, England. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2001.

Fisk began his musical life at the age of 8, singing in the choir for five years at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and learning cello and organ. He holds a degree in music from Manchester University and a postgraduate diploma in piano accompaniment from the Royal Northern College of Music, where he also studied conducting and composition. Fisk continues to give public concerts frequently as a collaborative pianist, often in chamber music recitals with members of the Richmond Symphony. His volunteer service currently includes the boards of WCVE Public Radio and Virginians for the Arts, for which he chairs the statewide legislative committee, and leadership of the Group 3 orchestras in the League of American Orchestras.

Fisk is married to the Irish opera singer Anne O’Byrne. They live just by the James River in the Woodland Heights area of Richmond with their 21-year old daughter, Finn, and 18-year old son, Oliver.

Photo by Steve Becker

Photo by Steve Becker

Henry Fogel

Dean Emeritus, Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts

Speaking at Behind the Curtain: The Conductor Search Process (in collaboration with Conductors Guild).

For folks in the orchestral music field, Henry Fogel needs no introduction. His long and storied career as past inventor of the radiothon fund-raising concept in Syracuse, as executive director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, orchestra manager of the New York Philharmonic, president of the League of American Orchestras, classical music radio station WONO owner and on-air celebrity, the voice of WFMT’s Collector’s Corner classical music radio show, negotiator during orchestra/manager labor disputes for numerous symphony orchestras, Dean Emeritus of Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts, and in other past and current positions, offers Fogel insight into the music world like few others.

John Forsyte

President and CEO, Pacific Symphony

Speaking at At Home and Abroad: The Orchestra as Agent of Change

John E. Forsyte has led Pacific Symphony since 1998, and it is now the largest orchestral institution formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years. Growing in national and international stature, Pacific Symphony made its debut at Carnegie Hall in April, 2018 as one of two orchestras invited to perform for a year-long celebration of composer Philip Glass' 80th birthday. In May 2018, it made its first tour of China, visiting five major cities. In June, the Symphony completed this extraordinary season with its first national televised program on Great Performances.

Over the course Forsyte’s tenure, the Symphony launched community programs such as arts-X-press (middle school arts immersion camp), Heartstrings (a partnership with 22 non-profit social service, health and cultural organizations), Strings for Generations at the Irvine Chinese School, Santa Ana Strings, and he has expanded its school partnership program from 7 to 32 schools.

Awarded a New California Arts Fund grant over a six-year period by the James Irvine Foundation, Pacific Symphony has undertaken an extensive set of initiatives to engage Asian communities of the region.

A hallmark of Forsyte's tenure are the uninterrupted string of balanced budgets. During this same period, the Pacific Symphony’s has enjoyed a five-fold increase in contributed income and added an additional $21 million contributed to its endowment.

In 1995 the American Symphony Orchestra League recognized Forsyte with the Helen M. Thompson Award. In 2016, John received Arts Orange County’s Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award.


Miguel García

Marketing and Engagement Manager, Chicago Sinfonietta

Speaking at Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community

Miguel A. García is an artist, administrator, and social activist interested in creating and supporting equitable spaces through bold artistic experiences. Currently, Marketing and Engagement Manager at Chicago Sinfonietta, Garcia is the curator for BRIDGE – an active concert participation initiative established to break social, racial, and economic barriers within the symphonic experience to bridge audience members with the surrounding community.

Prior to his current role, Garcia has facilitated and managed arts programs and special events for various cultural institutions throughout Chicago including the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and the Chicago Park District. In 2016, Garcia was selected as an Administrative Freeman Fellow as a part of Project Inclusion - Chicago Sinfonietta’s industry-leading fellowship program.

A native of Chicago, IL, Garcia was encouraged to explore a life in music by the Midwest’s finest music educators and renowned artists alike in programs including CPS All-City Ensembles, Merit School of Music, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Inspired by his mentors, Garcia went on to pursue dual bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Trombone Performance at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Beyond his passion for music, Garcia is currently coproducer of DURO – Chicago’s premiere LGBTQ+ nightlife collective dedicated to celebrating the Latinx community and all people of color, body types and gender expressions.


Delta David Gier

Music Director, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra

Speaking at a Composers Constituency Meeting

Delta David Gier has been called a dynamic voice on the American music scene, recognized widely for his penetrating interpretations of the standard symphonic repertoire, passionate commitment to new music, and significant community engagement. Orchestras Gier has conducted include the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He has conducted the American Composers Orchestra in the inaugural concert of the China-U.S Composers Project as well as other orchestras in Asia, Europe, and South America.

Since 2004, Gier has been music director of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. During that period, the orchestra has been lauded for its programming. His series based on the Pulitzer Prize was called “an unprecedented programming innovation” by the Wall Street Journal and has included residencies with composers Jennifer Higdon, Steven Stucky, Zhou Long, and Paul Moravec.The Lakota Music Project was developed under Gier’s direction. Now in its sixth year, the LMP is a side-by-side program with the SDSO and Lakota musicians which explores the role music plays in their respective cultures, seeking to engender understanding and healing.


Martha Gilmer

Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Symphony Orchestra

Speaking at Artistic Planning.

Martha A. Gilmer is the chief executive officer of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Since joining the San Diego Symphony in 2014, she has initiated an annual city-wide January arts festival, engaged leading guest artists for their San Diego premieres, commissioned new works, and presented several West Coast premieres. Additionally, Gilmer has led a successful rebranding of the summer series Bayside Summer Nights, the inauguration of the Jazz @ the Jacobs series, the creation of a strategic plan for the organization, and the development of a permanent, highly innovative outdoor space called Bayside Performance Park, which received approval by the Port of San Diego. In 2018, Gilmer appointed the organization’s 13th music director, internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare and in 2019, San Diego announced its first principal guest conductor, Edo de Waart. Prior to joining the San Diego Symphony, Gilmer served as the vice president for artistic planning and audience development for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In that role, she was responsible for working with Music Director Riccardo Muti in program planning, engaging guest conductors and artists, and formulating the orchestra’s artistic profile. Throughout her career, she has developed longstanding relationships with some of the world’s greatest artists. In addition to program creation and development, Gilmer was instrumental in the creation of new innovative programs to connect new audiences to classical music, including ClassicEncounter and Beyond the Score. A graduate of the Northwestern University School of Music, Gilmer has been active as an alumna, and was awarded the Northwestern University School of Music Alumni Merit Award.


Aimee Halbruner

Director of Education & Community Engagement, Richmond Symphony

Speaking at Musicians Transforming Communities

Aimee Halbruner is Director of Education & Community Engagement for the Richmond Symphony (VA) where she oversees the orchestra’s educational, family and community programming, including its Big Tent Festivals, the six ensembles of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program, summer camps programs, and partnerships with the City’s universities and the region’s public school systems. She also serves as Project Director for the Menuhin International Violin Competition Richmond 2020, being hosted by the Symphony in May next year. A passionate advocate for accessibility and diversity in arts education, Aimee is responsible for the design and implementation of many of the Symphony’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, including leadership and talent development initiatives for young musicians, Come & Play with the Richmond Symphony (now in its 12th year), the Symphony’s Community Council, and its sensory friendly programming.

A classically trained pianist, Aimee has spent 25 years in the teaching field as both a classroom teacher and private instructor. Before joining the Richmond Symphony, Aimee was Director of Programs for Community School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC, where her responsibilities included program development, assessment, curriculum planning and supervision of over 40 performing and visual arts faculty. Currently, Aimee is serving on the Education & Community Engagement Leadership Committee for the League of American Orchestras.

Photo by Jim Blodgett

Photo by Jim Blodgett

Brittany Hall

Executive Director, Binghamton Philharmonic

Speaking at Behind the Curtain: The Conductor Search Process (in collaboration with Conductors Guild).

Brittany Hall is proud to begin her fifth season as executive director of the Binghamton Philharmonic (BPO), Broome County’s only professional symphony orchestra and among the Southern Tier of New York’s longest established and most recognized arts institutions.

Hall joined the BPO in May of 2013 as their development director, where she worked to cultivate relations with patrons and major donors, boost sponsorships and fundraising, and partner with corporations to implement matching gift programs. Previously, she managed the patron services and community engagement programs for the Erie Philharmonic.

In February of 2015, Hall became the BPO’s new executive director, quickly establishing bold new programming and structural initiatives that addressed the region’s dynamic population and evolving tastes, as well as downtown Binghamton’s continued revitalization efforts. Since her appointment, the BPO has shifted toward more diverse and contemporary content, an inclusive community-driven focus, and increased collaboration with other arts organizations. The results have been a steady uptick in admissions and contributions, an expanding audience of all ages and backgrounds, and a critical rebranding of the BPO as a fresh and vital cultural leader in the Southern Tier.

In 2017, Hall was an honored recipient of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year. In September 2017, she was recognized nationally as a League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leader as she demonstrated the ability to make a significant difference to the field in the years ahead. Hall holds a Master of Science in Arts Management from Drexel University.


Fiona Harvey

Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, Association of British Orchestras

Speaking at Musicians and Audiences with Disabilities: Making Inclusion the Heart of your Orchestra.

Fiona Harvey is a music graduate from the University of Sheffield where she studied piano. After volunteering for the Adelaide Festival Fringe in Australia before and during its three-week festival, she was inspired to find a career in music/arts management. For the past 30 years, she has worked at a strategic and operational level in the orchestral, music, and charity sectors. Harvey's company, Hawthorns Consulting, covers music education policy and research, event and project management, operations and governance, and organizational change and strategic development. She currently holds roles with the Association of British Orchestras (ABO), as education & youth ensembles consultant, and PRS Foundation (the UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development across all music genres), as senior operations manager. For the ABO, Harvey has managed national education projects with several UK orchestral partners, and national conferences and training programs for orchestral staff and musicians alike. She manages the ABO’s professional development leadership program, Find Your Way, and the ABO Sirens fund for the performance of works by historical women composers. She previously worked with the BBC, London Symphony Orchestra, the UK’s Music Education Council, and National Music Council, and Sound and Music (the UK’s national agency for new music). She is a trustee of Awards for Young Musicians and of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain.

Follow Fiona on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Don Hasseltine, Ed.D.

Senior Consultant, Aspen Leadership Group

Speaking at Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts.

Don Hasseltine is a senior consultant at the Aspen Leadership Group, where he conducts executive search and consults on organizational development issues with nonprofits from around the country. Before this role, he served as a vice president for advancement for eighteen years. His most recent position was as the vice president for development at Brown University where he helped launch their historic $3B fundraising campaign. He also has served as vice president for advancement at the colleges of Carleton, Dickinson, and Colby-Sawyer. Earlier in his career, he served as director of annual giving at both Georgetown University and the University of Virginia. Hassletine has been a regular presenter at the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) International and CASE DI and DII conferences and a published author on advancement. His teams have won numerous awards for outstanding performance. He recently started a conversation on LinkedIn, called Coach's Corner, where he explores advancement and leadership issues he has come across in his consulting practice.

Hasseltine currently sits on the President’s Advisory Board at New England College and the Parents Fund Committee at the Lincoln School in Providence, RI. He also has served on the board of directors of the YMCA Carlisle, PA and Northfield, MN Soccer Association, and has been a youth soccer and basketball coach.

Hasseltine has a BA from New England College, an MA from the University of Maryland, and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Classical Movements

Photo courtesy of Classical Movements

Neeta Helms

President, Classical Movements

Speaking at At Home and Abroad: The Orchestra as Agent of Change.

Born in Bombay, India to a musical family, Neeta Helms studied piano from the age of four, singing in public and in various choirs since age five.Helms holds a B.A. in economics and an M.B.A. from the leading universities in India. Since 1992, she has built up Classical Movements into one of the premier music touring companies of the world—certainly the most diverse—offering services to world-class orchestras and choruses and world-renowned conductors, composers, and soloists, as well as numerous celebrated institutions. Taking on some of the most complicated and pioneering projects, Helms has led trailblazing tours to Cuba, Vietnam, South Africa, and Russia (only a year after the fall of the Soviet Union). Helms has also brought the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra to Washington, D.C. and organized the first-ever YouTube Symphony Orchestras, in both New York and Sydney. Having traveled to over 95 countries, she’s forged relationships with leaders worldwide. Helms speaks English and Hindi fluently, as well as basic German, French, and Spanish. Her greatest passion, outside of work, is spending time with her boys, Remy and Maxim. Apart from family and friends and travel, she loves reading, art, music, politics, puzzles, and her garden.

Learn more about Classical Movements on Twitter and Instagram.


Jessica Hodder

Director of Digital Communications, New World Symphony

Speaking at The Immersive Orchestra: Leveraging New Technology in A/R & V/R

Jessica Hodder strives to make classical music accessible to as many people as possible in her role as director of digital communications at the New World Symphony, where she leads the institution’s digital strategy.

Her holistic, digital-first approach to marketing  and communications found a foothold at NWS in 2015 and she has since established an institutional identity where multiplatform storytelling, live broadcasts, and musician-driven online content not only thrive, but provide a forum for interaction with audiences, community partners, music students, and others—both online and in the concert hall. 

Under her leadership, NWS has embraced and experimented with nascent digital marketing tools and trends including geofencing, facial recognition, crowdsourced content, immersive video, and virtual reality. In 2017, she collaborated with MIT Media Lab on the development of a mobile app for NWS to capture user-submitted audio and video clips that would later be used in Miami’s first crowdsourced symphony. 

Hodder is a Miami native who is passionate about the intersection of arts and technology and holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Visual Journalism and English Literature from the University of Miami. She has dedicated her career to working with nonprofits, previously holding positions with the University of Miami, Everglades Foundation, and Knight Foundation.

Follow her on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.


Leo Hurley


Speaking at Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community.

Leo Hurley has gained recognition with awards, commissions, and performances in musical theater, opera, film, dance, acrobatic, choral, and instrumental mediums spanning the United States and across Europe. Hurley has had the pleasure of writing for Maya Angelou's 80th Birthday Celebration, Grammy Award-winner Pharoah Sanders, The York Theatre, Beyond Words Dance Company, and Sonnet Repertory Theater Company with performances off-Broadway, as well as for Alonzo King's LINES Ballet at the La Biennale Festival in Venice, Italy. His musicals have recently been seen at Feinstein’s/54 Below, New York New Works Theatre Festival, New York Musical Festival, and Abingdon Theatre. The Body Politic, an opera originally commissioned by the Juventas New Music Ensemble, follows a transgender refugee from Afghanistan as he navigates his new life in North Carolina. It drew international headlines when Hurley and collaborator Charles Osborne brought a concert version of the work to the North Carolina State Assembly

In protest of the newly passed HB2 (“The Bathroom Bill”). Hurley is currently enrolled in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City. Go Pickles!

Follow Leo on LinkedIn.

Photo by Kurt Heinecke

Photo by Kurt Heinecke

Kevin Jablonski

Section Bass, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at The Musicians' Perspective: Creating Collaborative Cultures in Orchestras.

Kevin Jablonski joined the Nashville Symphony as a section double bassist in 2010. He has served as chair of the NSO's Orchestra Committee during the 2014-15 season and was also on the Negotiating Committee for the NSO's most recent negotiation in 2018. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University in 2009, studying in the studio of Paul Ellison. Jablonski’s hometown is Columbus, Ohio, where he studied with Paul Robinson, professor of double bass at the Ohio State University, and John Pellegrino, assistant principal bass of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Jablonski is also a member of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in Clarksville, Tennessee, serving as co-principal bass. He has participated in numerous summer festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Britten-Pears Orchestra, Sarasota Music Festival, and Perlman Music Program, and he spent two years as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also competed in various solo competitions, most notably earning second place in the 2008 International Sperger Double Bass Competition in Ludwigslust, Germany. Jablonski is also an accomplished pianist and enjoys composing.


Eric Javier

Principal & Managing Director, CCS Fundraising

Speaking at Philanthropy: New Motivations and Incentives for Giving.

Eric B. Javier is a principal and managing director with CCS, the largest fundraising strategy and management firm in the world. Established in 1947, CCS designs and implements significant fundraising campaigns and programs for leading nonprofit institutions.

For the last 20 years, Javier has advised leading executives and trustees from across the nonprofit sector. He has helped design and direct more than 200 fundraising campaigns and initiatives that have raised more than $2 billion to make a positive difference in communities all around the world. His primary areas of expertise include feasibility and planning studies, capital and endowment campaigns, major donor programs, principal gift solicitation strategies, strategic development planning, case messaging and development, and coaching and training.

Javier is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and professional conferences, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Javier is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. He and his wife, Kristin, reside with their two daughters in Westchester, NY.

Photo by Bryan Hamilton

Photo by Bryan Hamilton

RusseLl Jones

President & CEO, Stamford Symphony

Speaking at Behind the Curtain: The Conductor Search Process (in collaboration with Conductors Guild).

Russell Jones is the president and CEO of the Stamford Symphony, a post he took up in October 2017. He hails from the United Kingdom where he began his career as orchestra personnel manager of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

He subsequently worked with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the National Federation of Music Societies, and the Association of Business Sponsorship of the Arts. During his term as director of the Association of British Orchestras, he spent a three-month sabbatical with the Pittsburgh Symphony, which paved the way for his appointment, in 2007, as vice president for marketing and membership at the League of American Orchestras. In 2012, he moved to the New York Philharmonic where he held a number of posts including director of planned giving, and director of major gifts.


Kristo Kondakçi

Artistic Director & Conductor, Eureka Ensemble

Speaking at Check This Out!

Twenty-seven-year-old conductor Kristo Kondakçi, known for his vivacious and infectious musical energy, has acquired wide-ranging musical skills and an impressive list of accomplishments. He made his professional conducting debut with the Albanian National Orchestra in fall 2014 and his opera conducting debut with the Vienna Summer Music Festival Opera in summer 2018.

Based in Boston, MA, he is the co-founder and conductor of Eureka Ensemble, with the mission to nurture social change through music. Eureka Ensemble’s work in the community has been praised both locally and nationally.

His conducting activities include concerts with Kendall Square Orchestra as music director, the National Albanian Orchestra as principal guest conductor, and the Rivers Symphony and the Narragansett Bay Symphony. He has also conducted the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Pro Musica, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Music for Food, and Harvard's River Charles Ensemble, among many other groups, professional and academic. In 2018, Kondakçi co-founded the Women’s Chorus, bringing together women experiencing homelessness and severe poverty.

Off the podium, Kondakçi coaches chamber music at Harvard University as a non-resident music tutor and advises musical organizations in Boston on artistic programming, social entrepreneurship, and marketing/audience development. He has also made a significant contribution to Mahler research through his reconstruction of the original version of Mahler's 1st Symphony. He has assisted his mentor, critically-acclaimed composer Michael Gandolfi—among other Boston-based composers—in the preparation and publishing of new works.

Follow Kristo on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Photo by Carmen Rubio

Photo by Carmen Rubio

Eun Lee

Executive Director, The Dream Unfinished

Speaking at At Home and Abroad: The Orchestra as Agent of Change

As a music educator and arts professional, Eun Lee has prioritized socially relevant musical experiences for audiences of all ages. From 2012 to 2016 she worked as a teaching artist throughout New York City, focusing on young learners in settings such as the Corona Youth Music Project’s PreOrchestra and the Diller-Quaile School of Music’s Early Childhood Outreach Program; and leading children’s ensembles such as the Corona Children’s Orchestra and Corona Children’s Chorus. Since 2015 Lee has worked as an administrator at institutions such as the Diller-Quaile School of Music and the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL), where she grew the program’s enrollment from 105 to over 170 students and oversaw a redesign of YOSL’s programming and curriculum. Lee currently serves as the manager of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up, an internationally distributed program which provides orchestras with curricula and professional development in engaging school-age audiences. Lee is the executive director of The Dream Unfinished, an Activist Orchestra, which she co-founded in 2014. She has been invited to speak on The Dream Unfinished for the Kennedy Center/SHIFT: Festival of American Orchestras, Harvard University's Graduate Music Forum, Chamber Music America, and others.


Christina Littlejohn

Chief Executive Officer, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Speaking at Preparing the Orchestra Culture for Lasting EDI Work.

Christina Littlejohn has served the nonprofit industry leading orchestra start-up or turnarounds for over twenty years. She joined the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra as executive director in June of 2009, when the orchestra could make only six more months of payroll. In the last nine years, the ASO has balanced its budget, even in the two seasons its concert hall was closed; successfully completed a $7.1 Orchestrating the Future campaign; increased overall concert attendance; been recognized by Arkansas Business for its excellence in governance; and received national grants for community outreach including Music Alive and NEA grants. Littlejohn was Chair of Group 3 Orchestras for the League of American Orchestras for two years. In 2013, she was one of 50 arts leaders from around the world selected to participate in National Arts Strategies Chief Executives program and a finalist for the Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year for Arkansas Business. Before joining the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Littlejohn was executive director of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra during the two seasons its concert hall was closed for renovations. From 1996 to 2006, Littlejohn led the transition of Symphony Concerts of Mobile, a presenter of touring orchestras in Mobile, AL, to Mobile Symphony, a professional orchestra that serves the needs of the Mobile Bay community. Littlejohn has led talks for Methodist Ministers on Leading through Change. She earned a Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Arts Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Furman University.

Follow Christina on LinkedIn.


Sandi Macdonald

President & CEO, North Carolina Symphony

Speaking at Placing Patrons at the Center.

Sandi M. A. Macdonald joined the North Carolina Symphony as president and CEO in June 2011. In this role she oversees the operations of the $15M professional orchestra of 66 musicians who perform 180+ concerts and 120+ community engagement events annually, plus 35 administrative staff. Macdonald's responsibilities support the mission of the symphony to perform at the highest artistic quality and embrace the dual legacy of statewide service and music education.

Prior to joining the North Carolina Symphony, Macdonald worked for The Cleveland Orchestra as Miami residency director from 2007 to 2011 and from 2003 to 2007 as its director of marketing and public relations. From 1998 to 2003, Macdonald served as senior director, strategic planning and audience development, of the Seattle Symphony. Prior to that, she worked in positions of increasing responsibility at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, concluding her tenure as marketing and communications director.

Macdonald holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and arts management at the Banff School of Management.

Macdonald is a PRESTO mentor with El Sistema USA, an organization dedicated to changing children’s lives through orchestra music training. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and is chair of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2018 she received Triangle Business Journal’s CEO of the Year Award.

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Theresa Maderia

Director of Marketing and Patron Loyalty, California Symphony

Speaking at Check This Out!

Theresa Madeira is a seasoned marketer with 20+ years experience in subscriptions marketing and customer engagement and retention, including for the Financial Times and online music streaming service Pandora. Originally from the UK, she has lived and worked across three continents, in London, Tokyo, and the San Francisco Bay area.

In 2017, Madeira made the switch to the nonprofit sector and joined the California Symphony in the newly created role of director of marketing and patron loyalty, a customer-centric position covering patron acquisition, engagement, retention, and development. Using a smart, segmented, data-driven approach and coordinated, multi-touch, multi-channel executions, all development campaigns she has run to date have exceeded target. In her first year with the organization, ticket sales increased by 16% year over year and subscriptions rose by 14%.

As well as being a fan of classical music since childhood, Maderia sings with the award-winning Blackhawk Chorus and is a founder member of and songwriter for close vocal harmony group Jubilee Road. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Modern History. Madeira has lived in the Bay Area since 2000.

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Dr. Heather Malyuk

Founder, Soundcheck Audiology

Heather will be leading a Musicians constituency meeting.

Dr. Heather Malyuk is an audiologist and musician from northeast Ohio. She holds a degree in Music History & Literature from the University of Akron and received her clinical doctorate in Audiology from Kent State University. She owns and directs Soundcheck Audiology, a mobile, concierge hearing wellness practice that specializes in expert audiologic care and education for the music industry. Her diverse clientele ranges from well-known touring acts to nationally acclaimed orchestras, local bands, and amateur music enthusiasts. Malyuk has been a reviewer for the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, serves on the wellness committee for the College Music Society, and is an active member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association. She is highly involved with the National Hearing Conservation Association, serving as a delegate for its executive council in addition to being a member of its Music Induced Hearing Disorders taskforce. In 2015, her paper, “New Developments in In-Ear Monitor (IEM) Technology for Musicians with Hearing Loss,” was published through the Audio Engineering Society for their 58th International Conference on Music Induced Hearing Disorders in Aalborg, Denmark. Malyuk has been featured as a lecturer and panelist at conferences such as the Regional Orchestra Players Association, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, AudiologyNOW, and AES. Musically, she has toured, taught, and recorded extensively and has been recognized by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her performance on the Emmy-Award winning documentary "A Tree Grows In Washington: The John F Seiberling Story."

Learn more about Soundcheck Audiology on Instagram.


Bradley Mansell

Section Cello, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at The Musicians' Perspective: Creating Collaborative Cultures in Orchestras.

Cellist Bradley Mansell has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 1984. He also serves on the faculty of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. Mansell has performed numerous solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States and Europe and has been named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He has also been the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher award from the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. He is originally from Sharon, Pennsylvania and received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University and a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have included Michael Gelfand, Lee Fiser, and Zara Nelsova. He has also served as an adjudicator for the Music Teachers National Association, the American String Teachers Association, and the Young Texas Artists Competitions. Mansell is currently the delegate to the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, representing the Nashville Symphony.


Kathleen McCracken, CVA

Director of Volunteer Services, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at Evolving Models for Leveraging Volunteers.

Kathleen McCracken first heard the Nashville Symphony when her fifth-grade class was invited to the War Memorial Auditorium for a Young People's Concert. It was love at first hearing, and the affair has continued through the Tennesse Performing Arts Center days and into the Schermerhorn Symphony Center era. McCracken was a graduate fellow at the University of Mississippi and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee. She has worked with nonprofits in Nashville for over 20 years. When she's not at the hall, she might be in a deserted nook practicing ukulele or ashiko. Among her favorite things are Cape Cod, Yeats, French composers, and a barn full of animals.


Eric Nelson

Client Engagement Officer, TRG Arts

Speaking at Placing Patrons at the Center.

Eric Nelson, client engagement officer at TRG Arts, has dedicated over twenty years to improving organizational structures and generating revenue for nonprofits. Prior to re-joining TRG Arts, Nelson was director of marketing and communications for New York City’s Kaufman Music Center, home of Merkin Concert Hall, Lucy Moses School (New York’s largest community arts school), and Special Music School (a K-12 public school for musically gifted youth). Nelson was also vice president of client services, new business and marketing for DCM, specializing in marketing and fundraising strategies for nonprofit organizations.

Follow Eric on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Photo by Katrin Talbot

Photo by Katrin Talbot

Casey Oelkers

Director of Development, Madison Symphony Orchestra

Speaking at Evolving Models for Leveraging Volunteers .

As Director of Development for the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Casey Oelkers oversees all aspects of the Symphony’s fundraising and donor relations. She previously served as Annual Giving Manager for the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and as Operations Coordinator for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Casey received a B.M. in Flute Performance from the University of Maryland-College Park and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Florida State University. She has held seasonal administrative positions with the Tanglewood Music Center, Marlboro Music Festival and the New York String Orchestra Seminar, and she completed the League of American Orchestras' Essentials of Orchestra Management Seminar.

Photo courtesy of FMCS

Photo courtesy of FMCS

Barbara owens

Commissioner, Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service

Speaking at Foundations of Collective Bargaining.

Barbara Owens is a Commissioner in Boston, Massachusetts field office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Owens joined the FMCS in 2017, having worked as an international representative and negotiator for the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) from 2008.In addition to supervising 68 locals in the upper Great Lakes and New England area, Owens developed webinar and training programs and materials for officers and members.

Prior to that, she served as president of the 1600-member Boston Musicians' Association, AFM Local 9-535, for nine years. She also performed as a professional freelance violinist in MA, RI, and NY. Owens held positions as director of operations for the Providence (RI) Performing Arts Center, the Lake Forest (IL) Symphony, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, and as orchestra manager for Boston Música Viva and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.

Owens graduated with a Bachelor of Music in performance from Boston University School for the Arts, and received certification from the Harvard University Program on Negotiation and the Labor Guild School of Industrial Relations. Her professional affiliations include past membership in the AFM and the Labor Guild, and current membership in the National Association of Parliamentarians (registered parliamentarian) and the Professional Musicians Club (president). She lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband, son, and rescue dog. She enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.


Joy Payton-Stevens

Section Cello, Seattle Symphony

Speaking at Walking the walk: why music education matters.

Joy Payton-Stevens began playing the cello in her hometown of Cleveland when she was just four years old. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy for high school, and then continued her studies at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Ronald Leonard. She has been a member of the New World Symphony in Miami FL, is a current member of the Charlotte Symphony in NC, and joined the Seattle Symphony in the fall of 2014. In addition to performing music, Joy is passionate about teaching music to kids and has participated in several programs to bring music education to underserved communities. Outside of music, her other interests include cooking, reading, and most sports.

Photo courtesy of FMCS

Photo courtesy of FMCS

Javier Ramirez

Director, Agency Initiatives, Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service

Speaking at Foundations of Collective Bargaining.

Javier Ramirez began his FMCS career as a Commissioner in 2005 and currently is the director of the Division of Agency Initiatives for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). This office bears responsibility for the Offices of Conflict Management & Prevention, Strategy & Development, and Education & Training, and the FMCS Institute for Conflict Management. The combined efforts of these departments help identify, develop, and implement innovative approaches to labor-management relations and conflict management. This office plays a key role in achieving and embedding transformational change in the methods and means of delivering services through strategic skill-building, innovative uses of new technology platforms, and cutting-edge approaches to conflict management and labor relations.

Ramirez has been at the forefront of FMCS’s efforts to engage, inform, and educate prospective customers, stakeholders, and interested parties with new technologies and innovative outreach programs. He has guest lectured on labor relations and dispute resolution topics at the University of Illinois, University of Colorado, Cornell, and other colleges and universities. In addition, he has represented the Agency in international tri-partite training efforts in Bangladesh and has been the recipient of multiple FMCS performance awards in recognition of his work, including the Director’s Award.

Ramirez has trained and successfully facilitated parties in collaborative bargaining models in sectors of the economy ranging from manufacturing to university professors. He has successfully facilitated multi-party issues in manufacturing and construction and was on the facilitation team for several regulatory negotiations including a multi-party DOE negotiations that resulted in the largest energy saving rule in DOE history. Ramirez has led instruction on facilitation skills including modules on facilitating complex multi-party disputes and trained peer mediators of the U.S. Forest Service, Milwaukee Public Schools and at National Defense University.

Ramirez has presented at numerous national and regional conferences on conflict-related topics, including generational conflict, conflict resolution, neuroscience principles in conflict, improving communication, effective use of mediation, collective bargaining (traditional, interest-based and affinity economic bargaining,) and mind-mapping.

Prior to FMCS, Ramirez spent more than fourteen years in labor relations negotiating contracts and resolving disputes in areas such as immigration, contract administration, communication, staffing, and politics (federal, state, and local). His efforts have been featured in Rolling Stone and Chicago Tribune Magazine and cited in the New York Times Best Seller Fast Food Nation and Chicago Lawyer Magazine and recognized by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

photo credit: Catalina Ayubi.

photo credit: Catalina Ayubi.

Bahia Ramos

Director of Arts, The Wallace Foundation

Speaking at New Strategies for Success in Audience Research and Development

Bahia Ramos joined The Wallace Foundation in 2018 as director of arts. She leads the team responsible for the strategy and implementation of the foundation’s work in areas including building audiences for the arts and promoting arts education for young people.

Before arriving at Wallace, Ramos served as program director of the arts for the Knight Foundation, where she led the organization’s strategy for a $35 million annual investment in arts funding across the country. In that role, she built national partnerships and initiatives with organizations such as ArtPlace and Sundance, and worked on the local level to bring more high-quality arts experiences to diverse audiences and neighborhoods. Previously at Knight, Ramos had served as director/community foundations, managing a $140 million investment in community foundations in 26 cities supporting local civic innovation and community vibrancy.

Ramos has given presentations on a wide range of topics at forums across the country, including Grantmakers in the Arts, the Arts & Business Council of New York, the Alliance of Artist Communities, and Black Portraitures IV.

Ramos received her undergraduate degree in history from Williams College, and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, where she was a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honors Society and a National Urban Fellow.

Follow Bahia on Linkedin and Twitter.


Laura Reynolds

VP of Education & Community Engagement, Seattle Symphony

Speaking at Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community.

Laura Reynolds is the vice president of education and community engagement at the Seattle Symphony and has been with the orchestra since 2012. She oversees all programming for families, schools, communities, and young artists and played a leading role in developing and launching Simple Gifts, an organization-wide homelessness initiative. Since 2015, she has led the redesign for Benaroya Hall’s newest venue, Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center, which explores the intersections between music, learning, and technology. Laura co-chairs the League of American Orchestra’s Education and Community Engagement Leadership Committee and serves on the board of directors and executive committee for Compass Housing Alliance, a nonprofit serving people experiencing homelessness.

Prior to joining the Seattle Symphony, Reynolds was the program manager for the Grammy-award winning San Francisco Boys Chorus. She also worked for the arts integration research organization Music in Schools Today and for the USC Thornton School of Music Outreach Program. A native of Los Angeles, Reynolds graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in French Horn Performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and was the recipient of the 2010 Pepsi Co. Diversity Fellowship, Dean’s Award, and Leadership Award from Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Summer Institute for General Management. In 2016 she was selected as one of twenty-eight leaders for the National Arts Strategies Senior Management Institute learning cohort. In her free time, Reynolds enjoys cooking, cycling, learning French, and travelling.

Follow Laura on LinkedIn.

Photo courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune

Photo courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune

Patricia Richards

Lifetime Board Member and Past Chair, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera

Speaking at Philanthropy: New Motivations and Incentives for Giving.

Community and arts leader Patricia A. Richards is the retired senior vice president and senior regional manager for Wells Fargo’s wealth management division. She chaired the Board of Trustees of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera for nine years and served as interim president and CEO in 2016. She recently served on the Westminster College Board of Trustees and as Chairman of the League of American Orchestras Board. Richards is a past recipient of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Athena Award, the Utah Bankers’ Association distinguished Banker Award, and the Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award. She has also received an honorary doctorate from Westminster College.

photo credit: Chris Lee

photo credit: Chris Lee

Jesse Rosen

President and CEO, League of American Orchestras

Speaking at Artistic Excellence and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: A Moderated Debate

Since becoming president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras in 2008, Jesse Rosen has been a leading voice for the League’s more than 2,000 member organizations and individuals, empowering them with knowledge and perspective to navigate a rapidly changing environment. Rosen has been instrumental in overseeing the League’s renewed focus on developing research benefitting the entire orchestra field, and has created new initiatives in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion; artistry; leadership development; governance; capitalization; and community engagement, including Ford Made in America, the Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service, Music Alive, and the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund. Rosen serves on the boards of the American Composers Orchestra and the Performing Arts Alliance, and is a member of the National Center for Arts Research Board of Advisors. He is an experienced orchestra CEO who has served as general manager of the Seattle Symphony, executive vice president and managing director of the American Composers Orchestra, and orchestra manager of the New York Philharmonic. A trombonist, Rosen received his bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and pursued graduate studies at The Juilliard School.


Laura Ross

Section Second Violin, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at The Musicians' Perspective: Creating Collaborative Cultures in Orchestras.

Laura Ross, a 2nd violinist with the Nashville Symphony, joined the orchestra in 1984. Prior to moving to Nashville, she was a member of the Toledo Symphony (1982-84), the Flint Symphony (1979-82), the Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra (Principal 2nd Violin 1980-82), and the Windsor Symphony (1975-77). Ross has served as the Nashville Symphony’s Union Steward since 1995 for the Nashville Musicians Association, Local 257 AFM, and since 2000, she has served on Local 257’s Executive Board and as AFM Convention Delegate. She has served on the negotiating team for every NSO negotiation and as an ex-officio member of the orchestra committee since 1990.

On a national level, Ross continues to serve as the secretary of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), which represents the top 52 orchestras in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, a position she was elected to in 2002. The Nashville Symphony joined ICSOM in 2000. From 1991-94, she served the Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA) as member-at-large and then as ROPA secretary from 1994-2000. In 1989 she began serving on the negotiating committees for national Symphony-Opera-Ballet agreements covering Audio-Internet, Audio-Visual, Live Recording, and the Integrated Media Agreement, as a member of the ROPA—and later the ICSOM—Electronic Media Committees. Ross was appointed to serve as one of three rank-and-file Union Trustees of the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF) in August 2010.

Ross was born and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan and holds both a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Teachers included Emily Mutter Austin and Angel Reyes.


Steven Roth

Director Enterprise Consulting, Tessitura

Speaking at How to Create A Data-driven Culture, a Marketing Constituency Meeting

Steven Roth brings over two decades worth of industry experience to the Tessitura Enterprise Consulting Team. He is a recognized thought leader in CRM and has worked with arts and culture organizations of all genres and sizes throughout North America. He was president and co-founder of The Pricing Institute and most recently was president of JCA Arts Marketing. Roth is a frequent presenter at industry conferences and has taught CRM and arts marketing at the graduate level. He resides just outside Boston, MA.

Dougie Scarfe

Chief Executive, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Speaking at Musicians and Audiences with Disabilities: Making Inclusion the Heart of your Orchestra.

Dougie Scarfe joined the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as its new chief executive in July 2012 after a successful career as performer, manager, and director at Opera North.

While at school, Scarfe was principal horn in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, before studying at the Royal Northern College of Music and winning the Hiles Medal for Orchestral playing.

In 2000 a serious playing-related jaw condition ended Scarfe's performing career. After four years as executive assistant to the general director at Opera North, in 2006 he became chorus and orchestra director and concerts director and was widely credited with transforming the concert and recording program at the company.

Outside Opera North, Scarfe maintained strong teaching and community links and remains passionate about the importance of music education and creating opportunities for young people to learn and experience live music of all genres. He played an important role in the founding of Yorkshire Young Musicians (YYM). Scarfe was a founder trustee and also chairman of the YYM Board of Trustees from 2005-2007

Follow Dougie on LinkedIn.


Jeff Smith

Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Speaking at Walking the Walk: Why Music Education Matters and What Orchestras Can Do

Jeff Smith is proud to support the work of 400 arts educators in providing 86,000 students with equitable access to arts learning opportunities that demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning. Prior to joining Metro Nashville Public Schools, he served as director of arts for Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, FL. He has always been a staunch advocate for arts education and developed his love of the arts when introduced to the piano at the age of five. He was inspired to become a music educator while participating in the chorus, band, and drama programs during his high school years. He spent twelve years teaching music in New York and South Carolina before becoming a nonprofit leader in Jacksonville, FL.

Upon moving to Jacksonville in 2010, Mr. Smith served as associate director for the Cathedral Arts Project for three years. During that time, he oversaw program research, faculty development, and strategic partnerships while leading the expansion of after school, summer, and school day arts programs. He also started Smith Creative, a consulting company for nonprofits and businesses. Mr. Smith possesses a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Education from LIU Post, Master of Science in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University, and a Professional Diploma in School District Leadership from The College of New Rochelle. He currently serves on the board of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and on the education committee for the Nashville Symphony. He lives with his wife and three kids in Nashville.


Rachel Sokolow

Promotion Director, G. Schirmer/AMP | Music Sales Classical

Speaking at a Composers Constituency Meeting

Rachel Sokolow is promotion director for G. Schirmer, Inc./AMP, part of the Music Sales Group of companies. In this capacity, she works closely in collaboration with the global Music Sales classical promotion team to drive the initiation of new projects, secure composers’ commissions, and serve as resourceful partner in exploring the wide-ranging G. Schirmer, Inc/AMP and greater collection of Music Sales Classical catalogs.

Prior to joining G. Schirmer and Music Sales Classical, she spent seven years at Carnegie Hall (2004-2011), where she co-led the start-up, launch, and early implementation of the Ensemble Connect program. She also designed and led the early pilot phase of Link Up National, managing the first-wave expansion of the New York City-based educational program into a national orchestral partnership program.

She later served as the artistic administrator for David Finckel and Wu Han’s company, ArtistLed, with a focus on artistic planning, artist engagement, and festival program production to support two festivals (Music@Menlo and Chamber Music Today), two record labels (ArtistLed and Music@MenloLIVE), and a variety of entrepreneurial projects. She earned a B.M. in Violin Performance from The Hartt School, and played in the Oregon Symphony before discovering the wonderful world of arts administration and publishing.

G. Schirmer, Inc. is the oldest continuously active North American classical music publisher. Its sister publishing houses in the Music Sales Group include Chester Music and Novello, Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Alphonse Leduc, Chant du Monde, and Unión Musical Ediciones. The Group represents works by many of the most important composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Hans Abrahamsen, Matthew Aucoin, Samuel Barber, Daniel Catán, John Corigliano, Donnacha Dennehy, Avner Dorman, Ludovico Einaudi, Duke Ellington, George Fenton, Gabriela Lena Frank, Charles Ives, Peter Lieberson, Witold Lutoslawski, Gian Carlo Menotti, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Thea Musgrave, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Bright Sheng, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Tan Dun, and John Tavener.

Follow Rachel on LinkedIn. Learn more about G. Schirmer and MusicSalesClassical on Twitter.


Ari Solotoff

Attorney, Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A.

Speaking at Copyrights and Music Licensing: Practical Considerations for Orchestras. Ari will also lead a joint constituency session for Composers and Artistic Administrators.

Ari Solotoff is an attorney at Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A. located in Portland, Maine, where he is a member of the firm's business law practice group. Solotoff focuses his practice on serving clients in the entertainment, arts, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to studying law, Solotoff worked for over a decade in the classical music industry, where he served as executive vice president of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and before that, as executive director of the Portland and Pensacola symphonies. Solotoff presently serves as vice chair of the ABA Sports and Entertainment Law Forum, Theater and Performing Arts Division.  He is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley.

Follow Ari on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Trine Sorensen

Board Member of the League of American Orchestras and the San Francisco Symphony

Speaking at Speaking on Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts

Trine Sorensen is a member of the boards of the League of American Orchestras and the San Francisco Symphony. Additionally, she serves on the Global Council for the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, the board for Music at Menlo, the Advisory Council of Stanford Live, and the Bienen School of Music Advisory Board at Northwestern University.

Sorensen is a former Accenture consulting manager who specialized in change management and systems redesign, and a former hospital administrator at California Pacific Medical Center.

Photo by Hannah Arista

Photo by Hannah Arista

Derrick Spiva, Jr.

Composer, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Code Switch Composers Collective / Bridge To Everywhere

Speaking at New Voices: Composers of Today.

Derrick Spiva Jr. is nationally recognized as a rising star in the classical music world. Based in the Los Angeles area, Spiva is a composer, conductor, musician, and educator who often integrates musical practices from around the world into his work with classical music communities. The Los Angeles Times has described his music as “something to savor” and “enormous fun to listen to.”

In addition to his training in Western classical music, Spiva has extensively studied West African music and dance, Hindustani classical music, Balinese gamelan, Persian classical music, and music from the Balkans. Spiva is deeply invested in fostering creative and effective collaboration between artists of different disciplines and traditions.

The specific details of Spiva's own ancestral heritage are unclear, as an American who descended from enslaved Africans. These questions around his own ancestry and identity have led him to claim and develop an “American" aesthetic that incorporates many cultural influences into his work, reflecting the diverse communities that he belongs to.

Spiva is co-founder of the Code Switch Composers Collective, artistic director of Bridge to Everywhere, the inaugural artist educator for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and music director/conductor for Novae Sinfonia. He has released two album recordings, Prisms, Cycles, Leaps (2015) and American Mirror (2018), on Orenda Records.

His works have been premiered and performed by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Lyris Quartet, Los Angeles Electric 8, Albany Symphony, Salastina Music Society, and others. Spiva and his wife, ethnomusicologist Kim Nguyen Tran, live in Los Angeles.


Linda Stevens

Volunteer, Kansas City Symphony

Speaking at Evolving Models for Leveraging Volunteers.

Linda Sevens has served as a volunteer for major symphony orchestras for over 30 years in three cities; New York City, Seattle, and Kansas City, where she currently resides. She was president of the Seattle Symphony Volunteers for two years, served on the Seattle Symphony Board of Trustees from 2009-15, and chaired several fundraising events for the Seattle Symphony. After moving to Kansas City in 2015, she joined the Kansas City Symphony Volunteer Auxiliary and is currently treasurer of the Kansas City Symphony League’s Ball, which is an annual fundraising event supporting the symphony. Stevens joined the League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council in 2013 and is chairing the Volunteer Council track at this year’s Conference in Nashville. Her professional experience extended over 35 years and included a variety of executive marketing and customer support positions at IBM Corporation in New York and Microsoft Corporation in Seattle. She is now retired and engages in a variety of hobbies including golf, bridge, walking, and travel. Stevens is a member of the Village Presbyterian Church choir and frequently attends performances at the Kansas City Symphony.


Kerrien Suarez

Executive Director, Equity in the Center

Speaking at Building a Race Equity Culture.

Kerrien Suarez is executive director of Equity in the Center, a field-wide initiative to influence social sector leaders to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to achieve race equity. A project of ProInspire, EiC envisions a future where nonprofit and philanthropic organizations advance race equity internally while centering it in their work externally. It recently published Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture, which details management and operational levers that organizations utilize to transform culture.

Her focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity developed through work with Surge Institute, Camelback Ventures, EdFuel, and National Black Child Development Institute, where she supported emerging and established leaders and social entrepreneurs of color.

A management consultant with 20 years of experience, Kerrien led engagements to refine programs and scale impact for national nonprofits, including The First Tee and AARP ExperienceCorps. She also coached grantees of the Annie E. Casey, Wells Fargo, and Robert Wood Johnson foundations on issues ranging from organizational capacity and sustainability to place-based collective impact.

Suarez is a graduate of Harvard College and London School of Economics.

Follow Kerrien on Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn more about Equity in the Center on Twitter.


Martha Summa-Chadwick, DMA

Executive Director, Music Therapy Gateway In Communications, Inc.

Hear more from Martha at Check This Out!

Martha Summa-Chadwick, DMA, is a concert pianist, educator, researcher, and advocate for the use of music in therapy. Her degrees include a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School of Music, Master of Music from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Kansas. She has also completed basic and advanced level training in neurologic music therapy from Colorado State University’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music.

Summa-Chadwick has performed in roles of piano and harpsichord soloist with orchestras in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Alabama. She is on the faculty of the Cadek Conservatory in Chattanooga, TN, where she teaches both neurotypical students and also persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is a frequent speaker advocating for music in therapy at international, national, and state conferences for organizations including Music Teacher’s National Association, American Music Therapy Association, Society for Music Perception and Cognition, National Association for Music Education, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

In her role as founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization Music Therapy Gateway In Communications, Inc., she established the “Chamber Music for Body and Soul” performance project to advocate for music in therapy by means of a unique performance series. The concert series includes solo and chamber performances incorporating pre-concert lectures and highlighting works by composers who had neural challenges as well as upbeat compositions. The upbeat works encourage the audience to experience the natural inclination of their muscles to move to the music.

Follow Martha on Twitter.


Bob Swaney

Founder & CEO, Robert Swaney Consulting

Speaking at Adaptable Fundraising Models for Orchestras of Any Size and Tying It All Together: Strategic Planning, Board Development, and Fundraising.

A highly sought-after authority on fundraising growth for arts and cultural organizations, Bob Swaney has developed systems and solutions recognized now as industry standards for excellence.

Developed during 30-year career in fundraising, Swaney's hallmark lies in helping organizations develop sustainable high-leverage, high-return fundraising programs that are strategic, growth-oriented, and donor-focused. His simple yet systematic approach is highly effective in virtually any size market and for any size institution. Since 2006, Swaney has successfully shared his system with dozens of organizations across the country to strengthen their philanthropic core. These partnerships include many top-tier orchestras and opera companies, along with one of the world’s leading performing arts schools.

As founder and CEO of RSC, Swaney has assembled and leads an extraordinary team of consultants and support professionals who coach clients using his annual fund growth system. Careful planning and execution strategies—based on a combination of momentum, velocity, and leverage—are used to deliver predictably high-return contributed financial growth. Above all, Swaney and his team coach organizations to achieve this growth regardless of community, organization, or economic conditions.

Prior to launching RSC, Swaney worked on the staff of several of the country's top-tier orchestras, including Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, where he gained a depth of experience in all forms of fundraising. These opportunities served as the perfect training ground for Swaney to become one of the nation's leading coaches in arts-related philanthropy.

Follow Bob on LinkedIn.

Robert professional photo 2013.jpg

Robert Sweibel

Principal, Robert Sweibel Arts & Culture Consulting

Speaking at the Marketing Constituency Meetings, Strategic Marketing Booster breakout sessions

Robert Sweibel is the principal of Robert Sweibel Arts & Culture Consulting, a New York City-based firm that specializes in strategic marketing, communications and leadership for the arts & culture industry.

Sweibel’s recent client work includes inaugural season planning and marketing executive search for the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts in Stillwater Oklahoma, which opens this October with a residency by the New York Philharmonic; executive search and subscription campaign planning for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; interim leadership for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; e-commerce website design for the Stratford Festival, the continent’s largest classical repertory theatre; subscription campaign assessment for Playwrights Horizons; and strategic planning for the McCarter Theatre Center.

Sweibel has 30 years’ leadership experience across the performing and visual arts. He ran the marketing division of Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre Company, the nation’s largest nonprofit theatre, where he promoted eight Broadway productions and reversed a nine-year subscriptions decline. Robert has held leadership positions with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, the San Francisco Jazz Organization, San Francisco Ballet, Arizona Theatre Company, and the North Shore Music Theatre,.

Sweibel is a frequent speaker at arts conferences. He delivered the inaugural presentation for the Tessitura Network Innovators Series and the keynote address at the 2013 Intix annual conference. He has served on grant panels for multiple agencies, and several boards of directors. He is a graduate of New York University. He is an avid sailor, hiker, and camper.


Alex Temple, DMA

Composer; Lecturer, Northwestern University

Speaking at New Voices: Composers of Today.

A sound can evoke a time, a place, a cultural moment, or a worldview. Alex Temple (b. 1983) writes music that distorts and combines iconic sounds to create new meanings, often in service of surreal, cryptic, or fantastical stories. She’s particularly interested in reclaiming socially disapproved-of (“cheesy”) sounds, playing with the boundary between funny and frightening, and investigating lost memories and secret histories.

In addition to performing her own works for voice and electronics, she has collaborated with performers and ensembles such as Mellissa Hughes, Timothy Andres, the American Composers Orchestra, Fifth House Ensemble, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, and Spektral Quartet. She has also played keyboards with the chamber-rock group The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles, and made sounds using her voice, synthesizers, and various household objects with a·pe·ri·od·ic.

Temple got her BA from Yale University in 2005, and her MA from the University of Michigan in 2007. After leaving Ann Arbor, she spent two years in New York working for the New York Youth Symphony’s Making Score program for young composers. She recently completed a DMA at Northwestern University.


Sonja Thoms

Sr. Director of Operations & Orchestra Manager, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at Check This Out! and General Managers & Operations: Center Stage at the Schermerhorn

From an early age, Sonja Thoms knew she wanted a career in an orchestra. She pursued the path of an oboist and had the honor to study with Ray Still and Allan Vogel in high school before continuing on to Eastman School of Music (BM ‘03) and Rice University (MM ‘05) where she studied with Dr. Richard Killmer and Robert Atherholt. After graduating from Rice University, Thoms found an internship in Orchestra Operations with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and began learning the foundations of orchestra management. Following the internship, Thoms started to work part-time as Operations Assistant for the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2006 and stayed for nine years. During that time, Thoms held the positions of Operations Coordinator, Operations Manager and Director of Operations and Touring. In 2015, Thoms moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she is the Senior Director of Operations and Orchestra Manager at the Nashville Symphony.

Orchestra Operations was never a career Thoms considered or felt she knew about as a student, but that career has proven to be a very rewarding path. In an effort to spread awareness about the many careers in orchestra management, Thoms started a website in 2017 (www.orchestraoperations.com) for students considering career options. Additionally, Thoms continually pursues development of her leadership skills through books, podcasts, seminars, networks and workshops. In 2017-2018, Thoms was chosen to participate in the League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leaders Program and in Spring 2019 taught a pilot class she created “The Business of Orchestras” at Belmont University in Nashville.


Lisa Tregale

Head of Participate, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Speaking at Musicians and Audiences with Disabilities: Making Inclusion the Heart of your Orchestra.

Lisa Tregale is a music graduate from the University of York where she studied saxophone and voice. She decided she wanted a musical management career while on a work experience placement with the BBC Symphony Orchestra working on Harrison Birtwistle's Mask of Orpheus education project.

From this Tregale was offered the position of administrator at the Dartington International Summer School (DISS) and became their executive producer in 1998. While as Dartington, Tregale participated fully in the UK and European cultural sectors and was honored with the role of vice president of the conference of promoters of new music and was part of the European Festivals Association New Wave Programme.

In March 2004, Tregale became director of Beaford Arts, a rural arts organisation supporting and rebuilding communities through the arts. In November 2006 Tregale was appointed to create South West Music School, a center for advanced training of exceptionally talented young musicians (ages 8-18) supported by the Department for Education.

Tregale has also held positions such as creative director of the English Brass Academy and chair of Foundations for Excellence, an organisation focused on health and wellbeing in the training of young musicians and dancers. She also works as a freelance performer, workshop leader, and consultant.

Tregale is currently head of BSO Participate. She leads on the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s work Beyond the Concert Hall, working across all area of participation and inclusion from early years to work with older people living with dementia.

Follow Lisa on Twitter.

Photo by Kurt Heinecke

Photo by Kurt Heinecke

Alan D. Valentine

President & CEO, Nashville Symphony

Speaking at Evolving Models for Leveraging Volunteers and Preparing the Orchestra Culture for Lasting EDI Work.

Alan D. Valentine joined the Nashville Symphony as its president and CEO in June 1998. Since then, he has presided over an unprecedented period of growth at the symphony, highlighted by a total of eleven Grammy Awards and 20 Grammy nominations; 30 highly regarded and best-selling CD releases on the Naxos, Decca, and New West labels; a total of nine national television broadcasts, one of which won an Emmy Award; multiple national radio appearances, including the internationally syndicated radio series American Encores; a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut and sold-out East Coast tour in September 2000; two consecutive and very successful capital and endowment campaigns in which a total of $145 million was raised; and the construction of the world-class, acoustically superb Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in September 2006.

Valentine currently serves on the steering committee for Nashville's Agenda. He is a former member of the boards of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Nashville Chapter), the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Arts Coalition, the Association of Non-Profit Executives, Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville Downtown Partnership, and the Nashville City Club.


Julius Williams

President, Conductors Guild, Inc.

Speaking at In Collaboration with the Conductors Guild: Behind the Curtain, The Conductor Search Process

Dr. Julius Williams is an award-winning conductor, composer, recording artist, educator, author, and pianist. His career has taken him from his native New York to musical venues around the globe and has included virtually every musical genre. Williams has conducted ensembles at Carnegie Hall and performances with orchestras in Dallas, New Haven, Savannah, Hartford, Sacramento, Tulsa, Knoxville, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Akron, as well as with the Harlem Symphony, Armor Artist Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Opera, and Kalistos Chamber Orchestra, in Boston.

From 1998 – 2003, Williams was music director of the Washington Symphony, the official orchestra of Washington, DC., and conducted performances for the 30th anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China at Constitution Hall, Washington DC. Williams also served as artistic director of the Music Festival of Costa del Sol, Spain and as artistic director of the School of Choral Studies at the New York State Summer School for the Arts for ten seasons, as well as the Tri-C Jazz Festival concert series in Cleveland Ohio, where he opened the season with a powerful performance of Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Service.”

A prolific composer, Williams has created works for numerous genres of contemporary classical performances, including opera, ballet, orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus and solo voice, dance, musical theater, and film. His music has been performed by symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles around the globe. His “Norman Overture” was premiered by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta. The opera “Guinevere” was performed at the Aspen Music Festival and at Dubrovnik Music Festival in Croatia. He was composer of the score for the film “What Color is Love?” and he scored the theatrical production to “In Dahomey.”

Williams’ discography includes the critically-acclaimed “Symphonic Brotherhood,” a collection of African-American symphonic music; “Shades of Blue,” “The New American Romanticism,” Somewhere Far Away, Places in Time, The American Soloist, and Midnight Tolls, all available on the Albany Records label. In 2016-17, Williams had two new orchestral recordings—“Moments of Arrival” on Centaur Records and “The Bird That Wants to Fly,” a children’s opera on Naxos/Roven Records. His recordings are on the Albany, Centaur, Naxos, and Videmus record labels.

Williams is currently artistic director and conductor of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra in Boston; music director and conductor of the Trilogy: An Opera Company in New Jersey; a composer with the Boston Symphony Orchestra “Composer-in-Residence Project” and serves as a cover (understudy) conductor to the Boston Pops Orchestra. In January 2019, he became president of the board of directors of the 1,200-member International Conductors Guild.


Edward Yim

President, American Composers Orchestra

Speaking at Artistic Excellence and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: A Moderated Debate

Edward Yim is President of American Composers Orchestra, an orchestra dedicated to the discovery, promotion and celebration of American symphonic music. Deeply committed to contemporary music and composers, he previously held senior artistic planning positions with organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York City Opera and the Cleveland Orchestra.
In addition, Yim was Senior Vice-President and Director of the Conductor and Instrumentalists Division at IMG Artists where he personally managed a roster of composers and conductors.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Edward Yim holds an AB in Government from Harvard College and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Yim is a graduate of the League of American Orchestra’s Management Fellowship Program. He has served on the boards of New Music USA and the International Contemporary Ensemble, and also consults to Music Accord, a consortium of presenters which commissions contemporary chamber music for American artists.

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Derek Young

President and CEO, YMG Enterprises, LLC

Speaking at General Managers & Operations Constituency Meeting: Center Stage at the Schermerhorn

Through his experience at the intersection of marketplace excellence, organizational development, and servant leadership, Derek Young, also known as DY, understands what leaders face every day. Since 1987, he has prepared and inspired hundreds of thousands of leaders to transform their corporate culture. He has conducted more than 5,000 speaking, coaching, training, and consulting engagements for more than 500 corporate, private, government, education, nonprofit, and religious teams from more than 40 industries. During that time, he has built a proprietary catalog of more than 50 culture programs and keynotes in the areas of leadership development, performance management, sales and service, strategic planning, executive presence, and diversity and inclusion. His diverse client roster includes industry leaders and household names such as AT&T, BMI, CAT Financial, Catholic Charities, Dana, Eli Lilly, Firestone, Gaylord, Habitat for Humanity, HCA, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, National Restaurant Association, Nissan, Prudential, the US Department of Agriculture, Tractor Supply, and Vanderbilt University. Led by the motto, God First, Others Second and Dreams Third, his calling is to help individuals and organizations move from good—to great—to legendary performance. Young holds a rare distinction as the founding leader of two key functions for two Nashville-area Fortune 1000 headquarters. He was the first head of diversity and community outreach for Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores and the first director of community initiatives (along with leadership development) for Dollar General Corporation. Prior to those roles, he gained a strong foundation in strategic thinking, business analysis, and performance management as an internal auditor and economic research analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank, a communications analyst for Sprint Global Headquarters, and a career development manager for INROADS. Among his volunteer leadership roles with organizations such as March of Dimes, 100 Black Men, Girl Scouts, and the YMCA, Young also served as a board member and as the first community engagement chairman for the Nashville Symphony. To learn more about Young, visit, www.derekyoungspeaks.com.