ACSO News Blog

Lead by Example - A Call for ACSO Board Candidates

ACSO is seeking new board members to serve three-year terms beginning on October 1, 2023 OR beginning October 1, 2024. We are looking for individuals who are dedicated to guiding the organization’s growth, forward momentum, and leadership in the field and will help expand ACSO's capacity to serve its members.

You could be a great fit for ACSO if…

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ACSO 2023 Festivals Guide: Find a Summer Festival Near You

The 2023 summer music festival season is here! Artists and live music lovers from all over the world are coming to California and the Western U.S. to experience a unique blend of music-making, camaraderie, and scenic beauty. The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) is pleased to share this summer's offerings from our festival members, highlighting a vital and vibrant way for artists and audiences alike to deeply engage in classical music in picturesque, unique communities.

No two festivals are exactly alike, yet each share one common thread: a love and respect for composers, musicians, and the communities in which they are rooted. There are many opportunities to experience world-class performances and connect with the artists who bring these great works of art to life.

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ACSO Guest Blog : The Cult of Perfectionism

By Jenny Darlington-Person, Executive Director of Music in the Mountains

Adversity - whether it’s a global pandemic, a fire, or the worst winter in 50 years, forces us to reassess our priorities.  

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ACSO Guest Blog: A Zillennial's Guide to Work-Life Balance: Working in Non-Profit Arts Administration

A Zillennial’s Guide to Work-Life Balance: Working in Non-Profit Arts Administration 
By Tiffany Fajardo, Patron Experience and Community Engagement (PEACE) Manager, Berkeley Symphony 

Hi, I’m Tiffany, a 2018 college grad, born in the year 1996, right on the cutoff between the youngest Millennials and the eldest Gen Z. For some context, I missed my 6th day of kindergarten because 9/11 happened. My generation, the weird gap between the kids who grew up with their only internet source being the computer room at their school libraries and the kids who were born with internet readily available in any room in their homes, has seen the tail end of the “college is the only way to be successful” and the rise of the “college doesn’t actually give you much of a leg up and actually just leaves you with a ton of debt” narratives. This perspective has shaped my own relationship with work-life balance to a pretty solid science, and I am here to share with you my wisdom on how to embody both sides of the coin.

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George S. Clinton & Holly Mulcahy to Bring "The Rose of Sonora" to Symphonies Nationwide

 A Sponsored Ad from The Rose of Sonora

 

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Announcing the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music

California Festival: A Celebration of New Music
A Two-Week Statewide Festival Celebrating the Most Innovative and Compelling Music Composed Around the World in the Last Five Years
November 3-19, 2023

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) is proud to be a partner of the California Festival.

On January 31, 2023, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony and San Francisco Symphony announced the launch of the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music. The two-week, statewide festival of music from around the world will showcase today’s most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances of works written within the past five years. The California Festival was conceived by LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen as a festival that highlights the collaborative and innovative spirit that thrives in California. 



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NEA Announces $220,000 in Grants Funds to 8 ACSO Members

On January 10, 2023, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2023, with more than $34 million in funding to support the arts nationwide. This is the first of the NEA’s two major grant announcements each fiscal year and includes grants to organizations through the NEA’s Grants for Arts Projects, Challenge America, and Research Awards categories. Eight ACSO members have been selected for grants, totaling $220,000 in funding (see list below). For the full announcement from the NEA, please click here.

“Together, these grants show the NEA’s support nationwide for strengthening our arts and cultural ecosystems, providing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contributing to the health of our communities and our economy,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “I encourage everyone to explore these projects and the ways they help provide inspiration, understanding, and opportunities for us to live more artful lives.”

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Up & Down the Scale: November 2022 to January 2023

We are excited to share the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition of Up & Down the Scale covers orchestra administrative announcements made from November 2022 to January 2023. If you want to share the administrative, board, or staff member happenings at your organization, send announcements to [email protected] or add us to your PR lists. 


Berkeley Symphony welcomed five new musicians to its core orchestra for the 2022-23 season. New musicians include Principal Oboist Ben Brogadir, violinists Isabella Amador, Julia Churchill, and Sarah Elert, and Assistant Principal Second Violinist Mijung Kim. In addition, they announced the appointment of two new Board Members: Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin and Rigel Robinson. 

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ACSO and 18 ACSO Members Receive Nearly $1.3 Million in California Arts Council Grants

On December 23, 2022, the California Arts Council (CAC) announced its second round (Cycle B) of grant awards for 2022, awarding more than $41 million across 900 grants supporting artists, culture bearers, and cultural workers throughout the state of California.

All told, the projected sum of grants to be awarded for 2022’s regular program funding cycle is more than $72 million—the biggest annual investment in the California Arts Council’s 46-year history, largely supported by the $40 million one-time boost in support for the agency’s creative youth and arts education development programs.

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Thank You to Our 2021/2022 Donors!

As 2022 comes to a close, it is a time to pause and reflect on the challenges and wonderful changes that have happened to our industry this year. We are thrilled to see orchestras continue to offer live concerts and present creative musical offerings for their communities.

Here at ACSO, we are so proud of the services and support we have provided to orchestras, and we could not have done it with out our generous funders, sponsors, and donors who believe in our mission and work.

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ACSO Guest Blog: Thoughts on Orchestra Music Education Programs: Building the Next Generation of Classical Music Players and Supporters

By Steven Wu 

Note from ACSOThe author of this blog, Steven Wu, was ACSO's 2022 Program and Membership Intern and his internship was generously supported by a grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

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Up & Down the Scale: July through October 2022

We are excited to share the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition of Up and Down the Scale covers orchestra administrative announcements made from July through October 2022. If you want to share the administrative, board, or staff member happenings at your organization, send announcements to [email protected] or add us to your PR. lists 


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ACSO Guest Blog - An Adventure in Producing We Gather: Orchestra Santa Monica's First Film


An Adventure in Producing We Gather: Orchestra Santa Monica's First Film
By Cindy Bandel, President, Orchestra Santa Monica and Producer of "We Gather"

In retrospect, looking back at our film We Gather: Black Life in Santa Monica Told Through Music, Visuals, and Narrative and considering the countless steps and hurdles to produce it, I’d say that creating Orchestra Santa Monica’s (OSM) first film really was an epic journey. People have commented about its uniqueness and how they haven’t seen anything like this done before by an orchestra. I found a saying by actor Alan Alda that seems fitting, “Originality is unexplored territory. You get there by carrying a canoe – you can’t take a taxi.”

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ACSO Announces Slate of New Officers for 2022-23

During ACSO's Annual Meeting on Friday, September 7, 2022, ACSO members welcomed new board officers for 2022/23 and elected four renewing board members to another three-year term. Congratulations!

2022/23 BOARD OFFICERS


Elizabeth Shribman
President
Chief of Staff
San Francisco Symphony



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ACSO Celebrates National Arts & Humanities Month 2022 By Highlighting Our Members' October Concerts

National Arts & Humanitites Month logoACSO joins thousands of arts organizations and communities across the nation to recognize October as National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM). NAHM is coordinated by Americans for the Arts, the national organization working to empower communities with the resources and support necessary to provide access to all of the arts for all of the people. It is a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of art and culture in America during the month of October and was launched more than 30 years ago as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national arts partners as a month-long celebration with goals of:

  • FOCUSING on equitable access to the arts at local, state, and national levels;
  • ENCOURAGING individuals, organizations, and diverse communities to participate in the arts;
  • ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and
  • RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.

ACSO is participating by compiling and sharing the below list of our members' concerts throughout the month of October. We are thrilled to share a wide variety of concerts and events happening this month from ensembles of all sizes. Scroll down to find a concert near you!

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ACSO Announces 2022 Awards Recipients

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Executive Leadership Award, Emerging Professional Award, and Most Valuable Player (MVP) Volunteer Awards. ACSO’s annual awards program recognizes remarkable individuals within ACSO’s membership network for their meaningful contributions to the orchestra field.

Executive Leadership Award: Jenny Darlington-Person, Executive Director, Music in the Mountains
Emerging Professional Award: Tiffany Fajardo, Patron Services Manager, Berkeley Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Michele "Mikki" Andina, Santa Barbara Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Mary Jane Cooper, Santa Barbara Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Mary Eichbauer, Vallejo Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Lloyd Garrison, San Bernardino Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Janet Garufis, Santa Barbara Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Nancy Israel, New West Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Nancy McAleer Golden, Santa Barbara Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Renee Rymer, Marin Symphony
MVP Volunteer Award: Marilyn Solter, Redlands Symphony










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Up & Down the Scale: January through June 2022

We are excited to share the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition of Up and Down the Scale covers orchestra administrative announcements made from January through June 2022. If you want to share the administrative, board, or staff member happenings at your organization, send announcements to [email protected] or add us to your PR lists.

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11 ACSO Members Receive Almost $300,000 in California Arts Council Grants

On June 23, the California Arts Council (CAC) announced its first round (Cycle A) of grant awards for 2022, awarding more than $31.1 million across 1,172 grants in project and operational support for nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state of California. Cycle A's award marks the largest annual investment in the California Arts Council's 46-year history.

The decision, approved by the Council at its virtual public meeting on May 12, awarded grants across seven different program areas within Cycle A, focusing on the CAC’s efforts to address geographic equity, enable autonomy and sustainability for smaller organizations, and grow the strength of local arts agencies and their partnerships. See the full announcement here.

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CA Nonprofit Performing Arts Grant Program Opens July 13

The California Nonprofit Performing Arts Grant Program was created to provide grants to eligible nonprofit performing arts organizations (theater, dance, music, and other performance companies) to encourage workforce development. The Program includes $49.5M to be allocated in one or more rounds to eligible nonprofit performing arts organizations that meet certain criteria.

Grant moneys awarded under 
this Program shall only be
 used for the following:

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Advocacy Alert! Help Pass SB1116: The Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund

Our friends in the California theater community need our help. They have been working hard to pass SB1116 which establishes the Equitable Payroll Fund (EPF), a workforce development grant program designed to support Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations (SNPAO) with budgets under $2M - and workers directly - by providing substantial reimbursements of payroll expenses. 

This program will support jobs for anyone hired as an employee by a SNPAO, including both production and non-production employees and administrative staff, not unlike the Payroll Protection Program and similar Federal and State relief efforts.

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