Association of British Orchestras

Join the ABO today

Membership of the Association of British Orchestras is open to organisations working within or to support the orchestral sector. There are six categories of membership.

Full membership

Full membership is open to professional orchestras and ensembles which have existed for not less than two years in the UK and undertaken no fewer than 24 public performances.

Our Full Members have a shared mission:

  • to perform live music to the highest artistic standards for the widest possible audience;
  • to innovate, extend our reach, and grow our audiences;
  • to provide opportunities for participation in music-making and music education, helping to nurture and make more diverse the next generation of music-makers;
  • to put professionalism at the heart of our organisation, ensuring our musicians receive a professional rate of pay;
  • to invest in the skills, health and well-being of our staff and musicians;
  • to look after the investment in our organisation from public and private sources responsibly, with integrity and transparency;
  • to support the collective voice of our association.

Associate members

Associate members include those who have not yet fulfilled the requirements of full membership, as well as conservatoires, music colleges, national youth orchestras and non-UK orchestras.

Affiliate membership

Affiliate membership is open to those organisations involved with the presentation, support and commissioning of the work of the Association and its full members, such as funding agencies, broadcasters, festivals and venues.

Corporate membership

Corporate membership is open to other interested parties and commercial organisations that support the work of the Association and its members, such as artist managers, suppliers, international associations, businesses and sponsors.

Sole trader

Sole trader membership is aimed at sole traders and consultants providing services to the orchestral sector, and offers the same levels of benefits as Corporate membership.

Youth Ensembles membership

Youth Ensembles membership is open to youth and student orchestras and other ensembles that work with young people up to the age of 21. Music conservatoires, national youth music organisations and orchestras and ensembles that offer professional development opportunities should apply for Associate membership.

Honorary membership

Honorary membership is by invitation only and is offered to former administrative staff of British orchestras who have left the profession or are working abroad and who wish to remain connected to the UK orchestral scene.

The ABO provides a range of services for members, including:

  • Public affairs and communications strategies for the sector
  • Membership of and links to key national and international bodies
  • Liaison with the MU including negotiation of the ABO/MU Casual Concert/Freelance Orchestral Agreement
  • Major industry events such as the Annual Conference, with discounts for members
  • Regular networking events including Specialist Managers Meetings
  • Professional development opportunities and seminars on key topics
  • Monthly e-newsletter Update
  • Briefing events, factsheets and advice on current issues
  • Access to the members only area of our website
  • The ABO Insurance Scheme offering preferential rates and 10% “no claims rebate” on La Playa's Performing Arts Portfolio, a specialist policy for orchestras.
  • Free online jobs listing

Annual Conference

The next conference will be held in Manchester from 29-31 January 2020,

hosted by The Hallé and BBC Philharmonic