In place of our live 2020 conference, we’re offering free to members a series of online learning events under the banner Re-launch. We’ll feature a number of our original conference presenters, along with new special events specifically designed to help your orchestra adapt to the new normal and to prepare for a successful and resilient relaunch. We’ve re-directed conference travel bursaries (supported by the Canada Council for the Arts) to make this programming possible. Check back here frequently for updates on what we have planned next.

Watch this space for future events.


Orchestras, SOCAN, and rights in the age of COVID-19: Monday 19 October, 1-2 p.m. Eastern

Headshot of James Leacock

In normal times, Canadian orchestras have relied on SOCAN to ensure that creators and rights holders of copyright-protected music – in Canada and around the world – werecompensated for the use of their music in live performance. With the current restrictions on public gatherings, orchestras are sharing their work with audiences in new ways – and are also working with aradically different revenue model.
In this webinar, James Leacock (Manager—Media/Chef de service – Médias in SOCAN’s Licensing Department) will guide us through licensing considerations for orchestras in “the new normal”. 


Reopening Your Orchestra: Part One. COVID-19 seems to have turned orchestral music-making into a high risk activity.  As orchestras reopen, old routines and procedures need to be revised to keep musicians and audiences safe.  This webinar focused on the most promising evolving practices for orchestras from a practical standpoint, and examined the steps necessary to keep everyone safe. Led by Chris Walroth, Production Manager of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, this webinar was the first of two in a series dedicated to reopening orchestras in the time of COVID-19. Recording and resources are available here.

Reopening Your Orchestra: Part Two. On September 10, 2020, Janet Sellery, one of Canada’s leading experts in  health and safety in the live performing arts,  led an in-depth workshop with Orchestras Canada members and friends on risk assessment, planning, and preparing for the new normal in the time of COVID. This session took a deep dive into the practicalities of risk management in the orchestral context. Recording and resources are available here.

Producing & Monetizing Digital Content

This spring, orchestras adapted in unprecedented ways to create innovative online content, bringing our art right to the homes of our audiences (old and new) – often free of charge. Now that we are beginning to find our way into this “new normal,” how can we monetize online performances, to ensure we can continue offering more innovative programming, while recreating the exclusivity and intimacy our patrons value in our concert hall performances? OC welcomed Lana Leprich (Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra), Neil Middleton (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), and Tricia Baldwin (Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts) to share their experiences, advice, and the future they see for monetizing online content. Recording and resources are available here.

Going Digital – Online Fundraising Events

With our orchestras temporarily shifting out of the concert hall, the loss of ticket revenue is only one way in which orchestras and other arts organizations are feeling the effects of the current pandemic. Orchestras of all sizes rely on in-person fundraising events to develop relationships with their donors, and to sustain the orchestra’s activities. We’ve put together a panel of speakers from three Canadian orchestras who have successfully moved a fundraising event online in response to gathering restrictions. Jim Campbell (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra), Chris Sharpe (Stratford Symphony Orchestra) and Jean R. Dupré and Céline Choiselat (Orchestre Métropolitain) will discuss the approaches their orchestras took to moving their events online, how they managed to keep things personal with their donors, and the place they see online events holding in the future. Recording and resources are available here.

The Long Runway to Return

Join AMS Planning and Research’s Steven Wolff to look forward and reimagine how orchestras can connect with people (artists, employees, board members, partners, audiences and communities), redesign programs and services, and reinvent business models. Steven will be speaking about his research paper, The Long Runway to Return: The Role of Anchor Cultural Institutions.We encourage you to read this paper in advance as the conference session will focus extensively on it. Recording and resources are available here.

Audience Building While Our Doors Are Closed

Psychologist and statistician, Bob Harlow considers what strategic audience engagement can look like in our current circumstances, including how to identify target audience segments and build out strategies to engage them. The objective: to stimulate thoughts for your own discussions by providing examples of how organizations built successful audience-building strategies outside performance halls. In so doing, we hope to help you identify how to focus your own closed-door engagement efforts, targeting specific kinds of content to specific audiences in a way that strengthens bonds with them. Recording and resources are available here.

Scenario Planning in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting the arts and culture sector in an unprecedented way. Amidst an uncertain and seemingly ever-shifting environment, organizations must continue to respond to immediate challenges presented by the crisis while attempting to understand the potential implications of the crisis for next month, next season, and beyond. Susan Nelson and Bailey Hoar of TDC will help participants think about how scenario planning can support more productive conversations and informed decision-making. Drawing on TDC’s conversations with leaders of nonprofit organizations from across the country, the session will outline how to develop scenarios that sit at the intersection of public health, audience demand, and programming; posit questions for leaders to consider as they refine their scenarios; and share how continued scenario planning can support organizations’ long-term recovery and repositioning. Recording and resources are available here.

Orchestras in a Post-COVID-19 World

Economist and futurist Linda Nazareth shares current strengths, weaknesses, trends, opportunities and threats for the orchestral sector as we rally a community of support around our orchestras. Join Linda as she explores ideas and actions to help orchestras during the current shutdown, in a physically-distanced mid-term, and in a post-vaccine long-term. This session will cover social factors, economic factors, and the evolution of the orchestra as a ‘workplace’, in all senses of the word. Resources from this event are available here.

How to Produce a Virtual Ensemble Project

As the arts world looks to reinvent itself in the face of the continuing shutdown, it’s been inspirational to see orchestras across Canada recording themselves and making music together from their own homes. Making this kind of online content isn’t for the faint-hearted: from click tracks to synchronizing video to formatting for different social platforms, there a few tricks to learn. Donovan Seidle at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has put together a series of video tutorials on how to create a project like this. Resources from this event are available here.

Fundraising and Marketing in a Time of Crisis

On April 17th, Orchestras Canada hosted a panel discussion with senior members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s staff team: Jeff Alexander (President & CEO), Dale Hedding (VP Development) and Ryan Lewis (VP Marketing & Sales). We recommend listening to the recording of the event, as it’s packed full of useful fundraising and marketing approaches, for all times, but particularly for during the current crisis. We picked out five (plus one bonus) tips from the discussion to share.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Team

Jeff Alexander, President & CEO; Dale Hedding, VP Development; Ryan Lewis, VP Marketing & Sales. More…

Donovan Seidle

Donovan Seidle is an interactive audio provider based in Calgary. He has worked in music performance and production for most of his life, and as Assistant Concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, performs regularly. He has explored jazz, blues, fiddling and noise-rock in addition to the more typical orchestral, chamber and solo ventures. More…

Linda Nazareth

Linda Nazareth is an economist, futurist and expert on the future of work. Linda’s audiences have spanned a range of audiences, all of whom have benefited from the way that she can take huge ideas and distill them into information that organizations can use for their own strategic planning purposes. More…

Susan Nelson

Susan Nelson, executive vice president, TDC, has been with the company 1987. Over the years, she has led a wide range of projects that includes mergers, strategic business plans, financial restructuring, and facilities planning. Nelson’s practice focuses on the complex challenge of aligning an organization’s strategy, implementation plan, and financial sustainability. More…

Bailey Hoar

Bailey Hoar, Senior Project Manager, joined TDC in 2014. Ms. Hoar works with clients across the sector, with a particular focus on arts and cultural organizations. Her practice focuses on leveraging data to help answer critical questions, spark conversation and reflection, and support strategic decision-making. She works closely with stakeholders across organizations to ensure data is relevant and to make meaning of the findings to arrive at potential implications. More…

Bob Harlow

Bob Harlow, PhD is a veteran social psychologist and statistician who has spent the last two decades helping arts organizations, foundations and corporations understand how diverse audiences make decisions. More…

Steven Wolff

Steven Wolff is the founding Principal of AMS Planning & Research Corp. and AMS Analytics LLC. For 30 years, Steven has provided counsel to arts, culture and entertainment enterprises on strategic initiatives, the planning and development of more than $9m million in new and renovated capital facilities, and arts industry research. More…