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.

The ABO board has an expectation that its Full Members will operate by a set of values. We see these as the values of the orchestral sector in the UK as well as of the ABO itself as the sector’s representative body.

  • Advocacy for our members, their work, and for excellence in all we do collectively and strategically as a sector, as organisations and individuals, ensuring we are always relevant to our audiences.
  • Sustainability in our business, our work in the community, and our use of our resources, developing our people and our organisation collectively and as a community.
  • Professionalism, operating with integrity and transparency, championing excellence, and paying our people a fair rate for their work.
  • Inclusivity in all our work, embracing the diversity of our communities, our music and our audiences, working together to reflect and celebrate our music and musicians.
  • Resilience for our people, our sector and our organisations, caring for our staff and musicians, investing in their health, wellbeing and skills development through our organisational culture.
  • Empowerment of our musicians, our staff, our members by engaging and challenging ourselves and each other to be innovative, dynamic and transformative in all our work.

Associate members

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

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 membershipis 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.

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 ABO conference will take place in Leeds, hosted by Opera North, from 1-3 February 2023.