Nowhere in the world is there a more comprehensive assemblage of resources for the orchestral conductor than with CODA! With extraordinary ideas and insights on a wide range of relevant topics, CODA Members now have the tools to succeed anywhere!


As the most comprehensive organization for college and university orchestra directors, CODA is dedicated to advancing the art of live symphonic music. CODA initiatives are an important tool to reach across boundaries and connect with other disciplines and cultures.


We are happy to bring you important CODA news and CODA Member news- from the Da Capo Newsletter, our official CODA publication, and also from individuals. If you have a news item that you’d like to see published, please send to


CODA, founded only a decade ago by a small group of dedicated conductors, has become an important resource for more than 300 members in 41 U.S. states and across the globe. Learn who we are, where we came from, and where we are going in About.

History of CODA

A Great Idea

The College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) was founded on May 25, 2003 by James Madison University orchestra director Robert McCashin and Baylor University director Stephen Heyde. McCashin had been influenced by his band colleagues’ positive experience with the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and felt there should be a similar support organization for college orchestra directors. This idea was supported by Heyde, and a campaign to recruit members began.

The effort to create the organization initally began in 1995, when McCashin sent an “interest” letter and survey to directors around the country. This was followed by a 1996 response that indicated a high level of interest. An early version of the organization’s name was CUCODA (College University Conservatory Orchestra Directors Association), but thankfully, it was eventually whittled down to CODA.

A Delayed Start

A small group of directors including McCashin, Heyde, Kathleen Horvath, and Kevin Miller met for the first time in Pittsburgh on May 5, 2003. Why the delay from 1996? McCashin explained, “I had been distracted by personal and professional issues and set the organization aside for a while. It was Steve Heyde who called me sometime around 2001 and asked, ‘you know that organization that you tried to start back in the mid 90’s? I think it’s time to move on that.’ So we did.”

The First Meeting: Humble Beginnings

      Pittsburgh 2003: (Left to Right): Steve Heyde, Kevin Miller, Kathleen Horvath, Bob McCashin

Site of First Meeting-Pittsburgh, May 2003

Forming the Organization

A national board was formed in 2003 with McCashin serving as the first national President, and Heyde as President-elect. From its original core of just four members, CODA reached 81 members by the end of its first year. An organizational plan and mission was drafted, and a logo was created in 2003.

Original sketch-mission and region setup.

Leaders met again at Cleveland State University in 2004 to “jump start” membership. Bylaws were crafted and ratified, and the organization was divided into 5 regions across the country, each with its own officer corps. Regions were encouraged to hold semi-annual conferences, alternating with a semi-annual national conference.

The First National Conference

The first national conference was held at Florida State in 2006, followed by Brigham Young University (2008), Kennesaw State University (2010), and Northwestern University (2012). By 2008, just five years after that initial meeting, CODA reached 105 members. By the summer of 2013, CODA surpassed 200 members.

2013 National Conference in Cleveland -the first 'annual' national gathering

Regional conferences had also been held in off years in various locations, and served as a great way for colleagues to connect on local levels. Starting with their 2013 conference at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Cleveland, Ohio, CODA decided to hold the national conference each year.  The next national conference will be at Texas Christian University in January 2014.

Membership Growth Since 2003

At the end of its first decade, CODA now boasts more than 200 members from 41 states, including honorary and international members. CODA members direct orchestras of all collegiate genres, including conservatories, large public universities with graduate programs, large private institutions, medium-sized programs with undergraduates only, small private and public colleges, college-community orchestras, and college-professional partnerships.  

                                                                               2013 CODA Representation (Red)

Creating a Brighter Future

In 2012, CODA moved to expand internationally, and instituted a membership drive outside the United States. While CODA members direct orchestras of diverse sizes and scope, the organization is united by the underlying principles that connect collegiate orchestra directors everywhere: education, performance, and community engagement. These tenets serve as the organizational underpinning of this new website, and reinforces the vigor of our mission as academic conductors.

Our Mission

The mission of the College Orchestra Directors Association is to promote and advance college and university orchestra programs through the collaborative assistance, insights, knowledge, creativity, resources and shared vision of its members. CODA champions the art of conducting, teaching and performing orchestral music and strives to encourage and support the artistic, professional and personal growth of college orchestra directors and their students. The association serves as an advocate for the crucial triple roles of the orchestra director in the higher education community; namely, encouraging the development of artistic skills that are the essence of quality conducting, providing resources to better educate students of all majors, and promoting the conductor’s public role in the community.

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