The Richmond Symphony (www.richmondsymphony.com) is a vibrant centerpiece of the cultural life of Richmond, Virginia. Its musicians serve as links throughout the community and the orchestra itself provides a vast array of concerts for all musical tastes and ages, including: a Masterworks series, The Metro Collection Series (chamber orchestra), a Symphony Pops series, a family Lollipops series, Rush Hour Concerts (one-hour orchestral performances in casual venues), education concerts with full orchestra as well as small ensembles, and a myriad of special presentations. The Symphony seeks a creative and experienced individual for the position of Director of Artistic Planning & Orchestral Operations to further deepen ties with its community and enhance the Symphony’s artistic functions.
A leading regional orchestra, the Richmond Symphony serves the City of Richmond and the surrounding counties, and gives concerts throughout Central Virginia and beyond. It performed its first concert in 1957, under the direction of Edgar Schenkman (Music Director 1957-1971). The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra was started soon after; there are now 275 students in the five ensembles of the Youth Orchestra Program. In 1971 the Richmond Symphony Chorus was founded and performed its inaugural concert under the direction of Robert Shaw; now under Director Erin Freeman, its 150 singers add another layer of varied programming to the Symphony’s artistic output.
The Richmond Symphony’s home since 1983 has been the Carpenter Theatre. Designed originally as a Loew’s movie palace in 1928, the historic venue was purchased by the Symphony in 1981, before being renovated and reopened in 1983. The 1,800-seat theatre closed in December 2004 to be redeveloped as part of a larger performing arts center. Obliged to leave the theatre for five years while this work took place, the Symphony performed around the Richmond region, giving Pops concerts in the 3,500-seat Landmark (now the Altria) Theater, but staging all its Masterworks and other concerts in area churches and other ‘non-traditional’ concert venues. In 2005/06 alone, the Symphony and its ensembles performed concerts and education programs in 42 different venues. Now named the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the new building opened in September 2009 as the Symphony’s home base, where its offices and music library are also housed.
In addition to its performances in the Carpenter Theater at the Dominion Energy Center, the Symphony purchased the "Big Tent" in 2015, a mobile stage with large and beautiful canopy, which enabled the Symphony to perform at the opening ceremony for the UCI Road World Cycling Championships for over 12,000 people. This unique performance venue has since provided the Symphony with the ability to perform in surrounding communities for various festivals and celebrations throughout Virginia. In the City of Richmond, the proceeds netted from these various performances have funded the purchase of musical instruments for local public schools, with almost $350,000 raised for the purpose since 2015.
The Richmond Symphony is comprised of 69 professional musicians, with a core of 37 full-time positions due to expand to a core of 41 within the next 4 years. The 2019/20 season, fondly titled the year of “welcome”, promises to be a most exciting year. In September 25, 2018 a press release announced that the Richmond Symphony had selected a slate of 6 diverse and outstanding candidates for the position of Music Director. Each of the 6 finalists will participate in a 2-week residency and the selected candidate will succeed Steven Smith, who is leaving at the end of the 2018-2019 season, after ten years. The second extraordinary event is that the Richmond Symphony will welcome the Menuhin Competition to Richmond in May 2020, “considered by many to be the Olympics of the violin” – pushing its operating budget in FY20 from $6.5M to almost $9M. The Symphony also benefits from a growing endowment overseen by the Richmond Symphony Foundation that is expected to reach $20M by 2020.
The Director of Artistic Planning & Orchestral Operations is a strategic leader responsible for influencing and executing the long-term plans for the orchestra’s daily operations and artistic functions. The selected candidate will inspire and provide direction for orchestra personnel and will manage productions, direct operations, touring, labor relations, individual musician contracts, and contracts with external partners.
This opportunity is with an organization that strives to create an environment that practices shared values inclusive of the following: mutual respect, empathy, integrity, transparency, trust, insistence on excellence, hunger for success, passion creativity and fun.
This position is one of the senior management team, reporting to the Executive Director, working closely with the Music Director and other staff conductors, and overseeing a department of 5+ staff. This position is responsible for accurately maintaining deep knowledge and management of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), consistently executing the terms; fostering excellent relationships with the musicians; anticipating needs and expeditiously working through challenges.
Strategic vision in all areas of work and the ability to carry out such vision is imperative to this position. This position interacts with musicians and other key personnel including: facility management, administrative staff, volunteers, and event staff.
Duties and Responsibilities
Develops and schedules the Richmond Symphony season, including subscription programs and special programming.
Plans, in collaboration with the Music Director and Executive Director, the season’s annual artistic and operational plan, including guest artists, conductors, programs, commissions and related concert activities.
Ensures the efficient and effective operation of all orchestra-related activities insuring compliance with orchestra contracts and agreements with guest artists.
Supports the goals of the Richmond Symphony Strategic Plan as it relates to Artistic Planning & Orchestral Operations and formulates long-term planning for the organization.
Monitors compliance with all union contracts and collective bargaining agreements including the Master Agreement, media agreements, and any other trade agreements that govern services.
Collaborates with the Director of Finance and Administration to develop and oversee all budgets for orchestral operations.
Informs senior management of relevant situations regarding personnel, personal health, and family matters as appropriate, while being respectful of privacy concerns.
Works with Richmond Symphony library to determine personnel requirements for musical works and alert production staff of logistical issues in large-scale productions.
Represents Leadership Team on the Symphony’s Artistic Excellence & Negotiations Committees
Oversees logistics of venues, personnel, instruments and equipment for tours and run-outs.
Negotiates and ensures implementation of contracts with venues and promoters that directly relate to concert operations. Serves as primary contact at all facilities used by the Symphony.
Provides onsite assistance to Personnel Manager for auditions, arranges for operations staff to assist with auditions.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required. Preference will be given to candidates with professional orchestral experience and /or experience in orchestral personnel administration.
Experience (minimum 5 years) in management of symphony orchestras and negotiation of labor agreements.
Familiarity with orchestra operations, tours and travel, facilities management, and budgeting.
Experience with union contracts.
A good working knowledge of orchestral repertoire.
Formal musical and business training or equivalent experience.
Knowledge of classical music repertoire, particularly instrumentation.
Experience in orchestra management and/or playing in an orchestra.
Experience working with OPAS is a plus.
History of successful collaborations with orchestra musicians, guest artists and personalities in an attentive, calm, and professional manner.
Proven supervisory and interpersonal skills and dedication to a collegial and collaborative working environment.
Excellent negotiating skills.
Financial acumen and ability to work with high level budgeting.
Ability to communicate articulately, in both written and verbal forms with a wide variety of constituents, maintaining appropriate confidentiality and discretion.
Aptitude for long-term planning.
Creative and strategic problem-solving skills, and ability to work effectively on multiple projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.
Computer literacy; ability to work with Microsoft Office software systems.
Ability to read and accurately interpret union contracts.
Expertise in organizing details; mathematical aptitude.
Available to work nights, weekends, and overtime as required for concert and rehearsal coverage.
Regular, predictable attendance required, as well as numerous evening and weekend work shifts.
About Richmond Symphony
HC Smith Ltd is a retained executive search and consulting firm. For more than 25 years, HC Smith Ltd has been recognized as a very successful family-owned boutique firm. Our business and our passion is people. We serve a broad range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to world-class orchestras and museums, as well as institutions in the public and educational sector. Consultants include Principals Herbert Smith and Becca Smith along with Senior Consultant, Judith Frankfurt and Project Manager, Suzanne Wilson.