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Help Yourself

Now posted: excerpts from NEA address at League’s 2019 National Conference 

The National Endowment for the Arts has posted excerpts from “Orchestras Strengthening Ties to Their Communities,” an address by Ann Meier Baker, the NEA’s director of music and opera, at the opening plenary session of the League of American Orchestras’ National Conference in Nashville on June 3, 2019. Others speaking at the opening plenary were Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, Nashville Mayor David Briley, and League President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

Ann Meier Baker: The first live orchestra I ever heard was the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra—my hometown orchestra…. We lived in the suburbs of Cincinnati during a time of deep segregation, so for these concerts, we would drive downtown, park in the orchestra’s parking garage, and walk down a long, enclosed, walkway that led us directly to a back entrance to Music Hall without having any contact with the community outside the hall … Fast forward to today and thank goodness a lot has changed…. Instead of the orchestra being intentionally separated from the community … now audience members are surrounded by multiple efforts to connect and to serve the broader Cincinnati community. For me, this transformation at my hometown orchestra is a metaphor for the changes I perceive happening all across the country … These and many other initiatives are changing and strengthening the role of orchestras, and I applaud the creative partnerships and the impulse to go all-in in service to the community. Just like the transformation of the concert-going experience in my hometown of Cincinnati, orchestras across the country have flung open the front door and are inviting everyone in!

Read more of Baker’s address here. Click here for resources from the League’s 2019 Conference, including presentations, handouts, videos, and more.

Posted June 27, 2019