Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale’s Ignacio Barròn Viela One of Only Twelve Orchestra Professionals Nationwide Selected for League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leaders Program

Billings Arts

Competitive Eight-Month Program Develops Participants’ Leadership Capacities while Identifying the Orchestra Field’s Future Leaders

Ignacio Barròn Vielais one of only twelve orchestra professionals participating in the League of American Orchestras’ Emerging Leaders Program, the field’s prime source for identifying and cultivating the leadership potential of talented orchestra professionals.

The competitive eight-month program begins this week with a three-day meeting in New York City and also includes one-to-one coaching, in-depth seminars led by leadership experts, visits with leaders in cultural and performing arts institutions, virtual convenings, and a capstone project culminating at the League’s 2020 National Conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (June 10-12, 2019). The curriculum develops participants’ individual leadership capabilities and advances strategic thinking, resiliency, and innovation throughout the orchestra field.

“These twelve professionals are stewards of our field’s future,” said President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “They will hone their leadership skills and strategic vision through this flagship League of American Orchestras’ leadership development program, while building a cohort of colleagues they can learn from in years to come.”

Launched in 2014, the Emerging Leaders Program is the newest chapter in the League’s history of developing orchestral leaders. Along with its previous iteration, the Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, the Emerging Leaders Program has advanced the development of more than 200 alumni—now executive directors and senior executives of orchestras.

Additional League leadership and professional development programs have included the Executive Leadership Programs, Institutional Vision and Critical Issues programs, American Conducting Fellowship Program, and Essentials of Orchestra Management.

About the 2019-20 Emerging Leaders Program:

The current cohort is comprised of orchestra executive directors, a professional orchestral musician, and managers in a cross-section of orchestra departments, including education and community engagement, development, marketing, personnel, public relations, operations, programming.

The participants were selected through a competitive application process; the League sought individuals who bring the imagination, drive, and commitment to grow as leaders in their own orchestras and serve as champions for the field.

A trio themes underpin the curriculum for this intensive program:

Fostering a Vibrant Orchestra – Understanding and assessing organizational culture and developing the foundational knowledge to be able to build a thriving and effective organization with a healthy, diverse, and inclusive culture.

Taking Responsibility for Personal Development – Building reflective practice as a means of increasing self-awareness and self-management in ways that sustain a career of increasing responsibility, influence, and professional growth in the orchestra field.

Leading with a Unified Vision – Developing a unifying strategic direction, working across traditional boundaries to bring people together in support of shared purpose.

The League’s Emerging Leaders Program is guided by renowned leadership expert John McCann as the lead faculty and facilitator. One-to-one leadership coaching is provided throughout the course by leadership development specialists Craig Coble and Mary Parish. Additional faculty—including Ama Codjoe, arts and social justice educator, and guest speakers from inside and outside the orchestra field—provide ELP participants with diverse perspectives and multifaceted learning experience. See faculty bios on our website; https://americanorchestras.org/emergingleaders

The 2019-20 Emerging Leaders Program participants are:

• Karina Bharne, Executive Director, Symphony Tacoma
• Robin Freeman, Director of Public Relations, San Francisco Symphony
• JT Kane, Dean of Visiting Faculty and Orchestra Manager, New World Symphony
• Giuliano Kornberg, Chief Development Officer, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera
• Rachel Lappen, Senior Director of Development, The Cleveland Orchestra
• Monica Meyer, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Public Relations Virginia Symphony Orchestra
• Brian Prechtl, Percussion, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
• Andrew Roitstein, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Orchestra of St. Luke’s
• Ignacio Barron Viela, Executive Director, Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale
• Sarah Whitling, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
• Leah Wilson-Velasco, CEO, Walla Walla Symphony
• Michelle Zwi, Associate Personnel Manager, The Philadelphia Orchestra


Ignacio Barrón Viela joined the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale as Executive Director in December 2018. Since arriving, he has been shaping the future of the organization by developing a new strategic plan to address the Billings Symphony’s vision to become a premier orchestra of a community of its size. He is passionate about expanding orchestras’ musical offerings and community engagement programs that focus on the issues and ideas of human relevance across all economic and social groups. He has been very actively building valuable relationships with other businesses and non-profits both locally and across the states of Montana and Wyoming as well as coordinating joint activities with the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras (MASO).

While living and working in Dusseldorf, Germany, Barrón Viela was involved in managing orchestra tours in Europe with the Heinrich Heine Orchestra. Prior to his career in arts management, he worked seven years as a senior management consultant and project manager for two of the largest private investor-owned energy companies in the world. With projects in conventional power plants and renewable energy assets spanning across Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S., Barrón Viela specialized in operational excellence and performance management, skills that he is excited to bring to the orchestra field.

Originally from Zaragoza, Spain, Barrón Viela holds a Master of Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Zaragoza and an MBA from USC Marshall School of Business, with an emphasis in arts leadership through the USC Thornton School of Music. In 2018, he completed the League of American Orchestras’ Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar. When he isn’t playing cello, Barrón Viela enjoys exploring Montana’s great outdoors, running road races, and learning from and engaging with people from all walks of life.

The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale (BSO&C) is the largest professional orchestra in Montana. Established in 1951, the BSO&C strives to enrich lives through music. Consisting of over 135 musicians, the BSO&C serves a regional population of 400,000 people located throughout South Central and Eastern Montana, and Northeastern Wyoming by introducing music to children, youth, adults and seniors through Explore Music! the BSO&C’s community engagement program.

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned orchestras to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit americanorchestras.org.

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