The South Bend Symphony Orchestra (SBSO) was founded in 1932 when a local string ensemble conceived the idea for the South Bend Civic Orchestra and appointed its instructor as the music conductor. Today, the SBSO, led by Music Director Alastair Willis, is Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan’s (Michiana) premier professional orchestra presenting 20 orchestral concerts and 54 free ensemble performances each year. Its highly qualified musician pool is drawn from a large multi-state area.
The SBSO is a professional orchestra operating on a collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Musicians. The Orchestra employs a minimum of 75 per-service contract musicians and holds membership in the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA). A typical performance season includes three main series, including five Masterworks concerts, three Pops concerts; and three Mosaic (chamber orchestra) concerts; two Holiday Pops Concerts; an annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration Concert; four education concerts; one Family Concert; an annual free summer concert at the Chris Wilson Pavilion in Potawatomi Park; and approximately 55 free ensemble performances across the region in schools, libraries, retirement facilities, and community centers. The Orchestra also offers an Artist-in-Residence program at a local high school and presents the newly-launched Happy Hour with the Symphony series, featuring performances in non-traditional venues.
The SBSO is governed by a 33-member Board of Directors, two of whom are Orchestra members and seven of whom are Directors Emeriti. The Orchestra operates on an annual budget of $1.8 million and has an endowment of approximately $12 million. The current SBSO Music Director, Alastair Willis, has led the orchestra for two seasons and resides in South Bend. The SBSO has a full-time staff of five and a part-time staff of five people. The Orchestra serves nearly 30,000 adults and children in seven counties in northern Indiana and two counties in southern Michigan. The SBSO maintains strong partnerships with area’s educational institutions including University of Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend, Saint Mary’s College, and Bethel College, as well as other arts organizations including South Bend Civic Theater, South Bend Chamber Singers, The History Museum, Southold Ballet Theatre, among others.
On June 30, 2019 the SBSO adopted a five-year Strategic Plan, developed with input from internal and external stakeholders, outlining organizational priorities in key areas.
Mission Statement: As Michiana's premier professional orchestra, the South Bend Symphony engages the community in the exploration of orchestral music in all its forms.
Vision: We present performances of the highest artistic caliber that inspire, educate, entertain, and engage diverse audiences in the concert hall and in our community.
Reporting to the President of the Board of Directors and working in partnership with the Music Director, the Executive Director is charged with leading the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, with its mission, vision and community values as a guide. The scope of responsibility includes oversight of external and community relations, audience participation, fund development, long-range planning, and overall internal operational, financial, and administrative management. The Executive Director maintains a positive, team-spirited institutional culture, which balances the diversity and vibrancy of the Michiana area and the orchestra’s artistic traditions and programs with the efficacy of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.
Principal duties and responsibilities include:
Institutional Advancement: Identifies stakeholders, develops strategies and defines how key messages will be delivered to various individuals and institutions to maximize visibility, brand and earned and contributed revenues.
Education, Outreach, and Community Relations: Extends opportunities for learning, collaboration and accessibility that further the mission, vision, programs and impact of the orchestra. With the Music Director and Board President, acts as the SBSO’s primary spokesperson.
Operational and Strategic Planning: Oversees short-term operational and long-range strategic planning and implementation, including the effective mentoring and supervision of the organization’s human resources, mobilization of technological resources, and decision-making related to appropriate use of financial resources.
Governance & Financial Management: Provides support to best utilize the talents and resources of the Board, stimulate involvement, help recruit new members, and work closely with them to ensure strong fiscal health and organizational governance.
The ideal candidate will be a leader who brings an optimistic, pragmatic, and entrepreneurial perspective to building an effective management team and an organizational structure that will best serve the SBSO’s mission, vision and goals. The candidate will have a solid track record for leading, managing, and developing teams; proven success with fundraising; a firm understanding of management processes; and proactive community-building skills. He/she/they will have a strong interest in and passion for developing a positive work environment and collaborative relationships among the SBSO Board, staff, musicians, volunteers, and local constituents.
The successful candidate will be an intelligent, outgoing, likable person who is capable of successfully interacting with Board, staff, musicians, donors, and community leaders. He/she/they will have demonstrated the innovation and visioning skills to guide the Board in making changes, recruiting new board members, and shaping the SBSO as a major force in the community. The candidate will have demonstrated success in leading and managing small groups.
The successful candidate will have excellent organizational and communication skills. He/she/they will have the demonstrated ability to be an effective fundraiser with foundations, corporations, and individual donors. The candidate will have a good understanding of not-for-profit accounting practices, experience building and monitoring budgets, and a track record for achieving budget goals.
The successful candidate will have a strong working knowledge of both classical and pops music and musicians, including rising artists, and the ability to assist the Music Director in planning and implementing programming that engages and stimulates the community. He/she/they will have a strong commitment to interactive arts education and community outreach with an understanding of how to integrate such projects successfully with the other activities and goals of the SBSO.
The successful candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree and have five to seven years of relevant work experience. A Master’s degree in business or arts management is preferred. The candidate must be willing and able to accept a work schedule that includes evening and weekend attendance at concerts and other activities.
Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
The South Bend Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization. The SBSO seeks to develop a diverse candidate pool. Applications and recommendations of qualified candidates are welcome.
Applicants are asked to send a cover letter outlining your qualifications and specific interest in this position. Please include a resume, salary requirements, and contact information for at least three references. Electronic submissions are preferred. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be called without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
The position will remain open until filled. The Search Committee will begin to review credentials in early September.
Please send materials to:
South Bend Symphony – Executive Director
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street NW, Suite 623
Washington, DC 20007
MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only
Additional Salary Information: Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
About South Bend Symphony Orchestra
Catherine French Group works with not-for-profit performing arts organizations in recruitment of executive and senior leadership. For more information, please contact Christopher Wingert at firstname.lastname@example.org.