Thornton announces partnership with League of American Orchestras

The USC Arts Leadership program will partner with the League of American Orchestras to present the “Essentials of Orchestra Management” seminar in the summer of 2015. The League of American Orchestras initiated the partnership with Robert A. Cutietta, dean of the Thornton School of Music, because of the changing dynamic of orchestras in Los Angeles.

“Essentials” is an intensive two-week boot camp designed to develop future orchestra leaders through a hands-on curriculum that tackles real-world problems.

The curriculum for the program has a multidisciplinary platform organized around four content areas: artistic vitality, business and operational models, community engagement and leadership.

Brent Assink, San Francisco Symphony executive director, and Deborah Rutter, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will continue to serve as seminar co-directors in consultation with USC’s own Kenneth Foster, director of ARTL.

This will be the first time the program will be held in Los Angeles. For the past 14 years, ARTL has been held in New York City.

Foster explained that the shift from the East Coast to the West Coast is positive because the West Coast’s development of orchestras is more relative to the orchestras all over the country.

“New York is in a way sort of too traditional,” Foster said.  “On the West Coast we’re quite a bit more engaged and because of the way the environment is changing all of the arts in the country, people need to find a new way of doing things.”

Elena Sloman, a senior majoring in oboe performance, also agreed that the location brought a different dynamic to the program.

“The culture is pretty different from the east coast to the west coast,” Sloman said.  “L.A. has a large center for pop music so it’s going to bring a different vibe to the orchestral music scene.”

Foster said the program focuses on four disciplinary areas to foster a sense of community in the program.

“Artistic vitality says there is artistic importance to a range of different programs and configurations, it’s not about are you the best orchestra but are you a vital engaged orchestra,” Foster said.  “The community piece is a huge part of that.”

The program will provide a mix of presentation, discussion and interactive role-plays and simulations, as well as the opportunity for participants to visit local orchestras, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in individual discussions as well as career mentoring with faculty. Participants with fewer than three years of performing arts organization are eligible to apply, as are graduate students, musicians and people outside the industry interested in a career in orchestra management.

Students at the seminar were pleased to hear that the opportunity was extended to those who may not necessarily have the most experience.

“To get into the music industry it’s not who you know it’s who knows you, so by pairing up, that builds connections for newcomers to enter the industry,” said Scott Lau, a freshman majoring in music industry.

Participants of the program will be housed together at Cardinal Gardens and the Radisson at USC.

Sloman discussed how the residential aspects of the program will increase the retention of topics covered in the program.

“I think it might make it more intense for the participants because if they’re going home every day they kind of forget about the things they do maybe, so staying here, its 24/7, and you’re really involved in it,” Sloman said.

The deadline to apply for the program is April 14, and the program will run from July 7 to July 16.