American’s future orchestra chiefs?

American’s future orchestra chiefs?


norman lebrecht

January 09, 2014

These six have been selected for accelerated training by the League of American Orchestras (formerly Asol):

Caleb Bailey, Orchestra Manager, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra (Lincoln, NE)

Jennifer Barton, Individual Giving Manager, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (Jacksonville, FL)

Nicholas Cohen, Director of Community Engagement, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Bradley Evans, Assistant Orchestra Personnel Manager, San Francisco Symphony

Yoo-Jin Hong, Director of Civic Orchestra and Training Programs, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Michael Reichman, General Manager, Symphony Nova (Boston, MA)

Rebecca Zabinski, Artistic Associate, Houston Symphony (pictured)



  • Brian says:

    Interesting that aside from the one Asian woman, they’re all white. And you wonder why there aren’t more black or Hispanic musicians in the ranks of professional orchestras.

  • Doug says:

    Michael Henson has a lot of time on his hands these days. Looks like the orchestra [mis]management College of Cardinals has devised a clever way to pass down their [broken] legacy.

    These days, anything ‘the League’ does is suspect. Why not address the question:why are orchestra managers migrating away from the industry en masse? Drawing young people into the ‘inner circle’ only reinforces old notions. The best thing would be to let these young people alone to employ their talents to figure out local sensibilities and develop new models based on what actually works, not learning ‘industry jargon’ from on high to impose at a local level…yet again.

  • Halldor says:

    Fast-track training programmes for self-selected “elite” arts managers haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory elsewhere in the Anglosphere – it’s too easy for these things to become mutual-promotion clubs for smooth-talking mediocrities. Don’t know much about this US scheme; let’s hope it contains some seriously rigorous training and is grounded in a profound understanding of and respect for music and musicians. Otherwise these people may someday do some real damage.

  • PForValue says:

    A post on potential elite orchestra managers, and you post a wedding photo of one of the women?

  • Martin says:

    Virtually no real talent in the entire field evidenced by the universal mismanagement in nearly every orchestra in North America.

  • Modicum says:

    A good first step toward ending the inbreeding of the field would be taking the ‘League’s’ job listings out from behind their paywall. There just might be someone ‘out there’ with ideas that could help right the sinking ship.

  • Modicum says:

    It’s also interesting that Polly Kahn, longtime League VP for Learning and Leadership Development (and presumably the person that oversaw the development of this program) is quitting. Announcement is behind the ‘Hub’ paywall, so here is the text:

    League VP Kahn to step down in June 2014

    On Wednesday, January 8, 2014, the League of American Orchestras announced that Polly Kahn, vice president for Learning and Leadership Development, will step down from her position following the League’s National Conference this June. Below are messages from Kahn and from League President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

    Dear Friends and Colleagues:

    A very happy new year to all of you.

    I want to give you some personal news: I will be stepping down from the League in June, following this year’s Conference. After more than 14 years here—and a lot of years fulltime in the workplace—it’s time for another chapter, and a little lighter load! So, I’ll be pulling back a bit, and looking forward to taking on some interesting projects.

    In the meantime, we’re all looking forward to bringing you a great Conference in June, as well as offering a host of other League activities.

    I hope to see many of you in New York at Mid-Winter, and at Conference in Seattle.

    Polly Kahn

    Vice President, Learning and Leadership Development

    Message from Jesse Rosen on Polly Kahn’s Announcement:

    I know you share our deep appreciation and affection for Polly Kahn and her remarkable contributions over so many years. Polly’s fourteen-year tenure with the League adds to a lifetime of accomplishment on behalf of education and learning in orchestras.

    Polly’s League tenure has been marked by an extraordinary growth and refinement of learning opportunities for people in orchestras, from board members and volunteers to staff members and musicians. She has introduced many of the leading thinkers, teachers and practitioners in governance, organizational development, and leadership development to our members. Through her leadership, member orchestras have received dozens of awards and grants for composer residencies, conductor fellowships, and excellence in governance, education, and community engagement. And, networks of staff and volunteers now populate orchestras, having shared the experience of learning together in the numerous programs organized by Polly. In any given year, more than 15,000 people from over 400 orchestras participate in the programs under Polly’s direction.

    We are looking forward to celebrating Polly’s achievements over the coming months. The League has launched a search for Polly’s successor, and I will keep you posted.

    Jesse Rosen

    President and CEO