The Columbia Orchestra of Howard County seeks an experienced Music Director, beginning in the 2024-2025 Season. The Orchestra welcomes applications from candidates who display excellent artistic leadership and planning capabilities, outstanding conducting skills, strong interpersonal and communication abilities, and a passion and vision for promoting orchestral music within the community.
Columbia is the second largest city in the state of Maryland. The community is culturally and generationally diverse, and its residents are strong supporters of the arts and are advocates for excellent music programs in their public schools. The Columbia Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community orchestra in its 45th season. The organization’s mission is to foster lifelong appreciation of, enthusiasm for, and participation in music by providing high-quality musical performances, educational resources, and opportunities for local musicians to perform great music. Orchestra membership consists of 85-100 volunteer musicians, about a third of whom hold degrees in music and who are selected by audition. The Orchestra is known for offering a range of innovative programs, soloists, and a quality of performances and was recognized with the American Prize in Orchestral Programming for its remarkably courageous programming approach, which combines well-known classical masterworks with new works by today’s composers, designed with the goal of reaching the entire community. Annual offerings currently include an Orchestra Series of four classical concerts and one Symphonic Pops concert, a free Chamber Series, a Family Series including Young People's Concerts and Family Holiday Concerts, and a free outdoor summer pops concert. In FY17, the Orchestra also formed a partnership with the Columbia Jazz Band to expand its musical offerings. The Jazz Band, which has its own director, offers a Jazz Series and participates in local outdoor concerts and festivals. The Orchestra offers educational initiatives including local pre-school programs, in-school concerts for elementary school children, and open rehearsals. Pre-pandemic, the organization reached an annual audience of 15,000. In FY22, over 11,000 people enjoyed the Orchestra’s in-person and virtual offerings, and we are delighted by the number of patrons who returned to live performances as the Orchestra resumed its full normal season programming in FY23. The Orchestra has three part-time staff members in addition to the Music Director, is supported by volunteers, and is led by a 16-member Board of Directors. It operates with an annual budget of approximately $330,000.
The Music Director is the artistic executive of the Columbia Orchestra and is responsible for the fulfillment of the Orchestra’s artistic potential and its image in the community. The Music Director, who reports directly to the Board of Directors, provides the overall artistic direction for the Orchestra, ensures its high musical quality, and guides and motivates the Orchestra’s musicians to achieve excellence. The Music Director is responsible for the repertoire, programming and artistic production, and has ultimate authority for the selection, development, and (if necessary) replacement of musicians. As the Orchestra’s artistic leader, the Music Director must build and sustain the Orchestra’s visibility and involvement in the community and must demonstrate commitment to the organization’s shared vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects for the Orchestra’s operations, including programming, selection of soloists, and interactions with all individuals. The Music Director is expected to work closely with the Executive Director, Board, and staff in carrying out these responsibilities and to participate actively in the Orchestra’s community impact, audience development, education, and fundraising activities. This salaried position is part-time. The Orchestra rehearses on Monday evenings, with other evening and weekend availability also required. Full or part-time residency is required of the Music Director.
The ideal Columbia Orchestra Music Director candidate will possess exceptional musicianship and conducting skills; significant conducting experience, including work with nonprofessional musicians; knowledge of a broad range of repertoire including works by emerging composers; strong interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills; and the vision, passion, and ability to make symphonic music relevant and exciting for existing and new audiences. The candidate should possess the professional self-assurance and collegial manner necessary to work constructively and persuasively as a member of the Orchestra’s senior leadership team and as a spokesperson for the organization. The successful candidate will possess the ability to effectively and respectfully connect, communicate, build rapport, and work with various constituencies, including musicians, staff, board, patrons, donors, current and potential audience members, and program participants. Through word and deed, the individual should be able to communicate the intrinsic and inspiring value of great music to the Orchestra’s patrons and the community. Previous or current music directorship or comparable experience is required.
Roles and Responsibilities
Work in partnership with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to promote and advance the organization’s mission.
Partner with the Board of Directors and Executive Director on the development of long-range artistic plans for the Columbia Orchestra and spearhead the implementation of those plans.
Provide close coordination and cooperation with the Board of Directors and Executive Director in audience development, community impact, and educational activities.
Plan the Orchestra’s concert season (subscription concerts, education concerts, special concerts, and other programs as appropriate) to ensure a high-quality orchestral experience for both orchestra members and the audience through selection of repertoire, guest artists, and artistic collaborations with other organizations.
Design programs and select guest artists that demonstrate cultural and educational value, engage with the entire community and musicians, and introduce both standard repertoire and newer works to current and new audiences. (Sample repertoire and performances can be found on our website and YouTube channel including
Mahler's Symphony No 1, James Lee III’s Niiji Memories (premiere), Respighi’s Pines of Rome, Reena Esmail's My Sister's Voice.)
Seek the Board of Director’s guidance on matters that could impact the Columbia Orchestra’s ability to meet its obligations (financial or otherwise) or could result in substantive changes in the established strategic direction of the Columbia Orchestra.
Serve as the conductor of the Orchestra’s weekly rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concert performances.
Create clear, organized, and efficient rehearsal schedules designed to ensure the continuing interest, musical development, and enthusiasm of the Orchestra’s musicians.
Create a rapport with audience members through interactions from the stage designed to increase their level of comfort and understanding of the music being performed.
Conduct auditions to select orchestra personnel.
Provide fiscal support of the Orchestra through assistance to the Board of Directors and in partnership with the Executive Director in preparation of the Orchestra’s annual budget, and execute all activities within that budget.
Provide assistance to the Board of Directors in approaching organizations that can provide financial and other support for the Columbia Orchestra.
Provide effective liaison and cooperation with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and the Columbia Jazz Band Director in matters related to marketing and audience development, including participation in associated social, civic, and media activities.
Develop educational outreach programs, including an annual Young People’s Concert, an in-school concert through the Howard County Public School System, and other educational concerts and activities.
Participate in and support efforts to foster a sense of community belonging both on and off stage, with the goal of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
To apply please e-mail the following materials to email@example.com by April 7, 2023, for best consideration. Please provide only MS Word or PDF attachments. No phone calls please.
Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
A written statement that addresses the candidate’s interest in the position, how the candidate’s background has prepared the individual to become the Music Director of the Columbia Orchestra, and how the candidate sees his or her role in promoting the organization’s continued development
Listings of five sample orchestral programs that the candidate has designed and conducted
At least three (but no more than five) links to short video recordings of performances the candidate has conducted. Each recording should be at least 5 minutes in length (or a full movement or piece if shorter than 5 minutes). A rehearsal video recording would be helpful but is not required.
Names and contact information for at least three professional references (references will not be contacted without first notifying the candidate)
The salary range for this position is $48,000-$55,000. The Orchestra also offers a matching SIMPLE IRA contribution plan and paid time off. The Columbia Orchestra is an equal-opportunity employer that welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. To learn more about the Columbia Orchestra and its current and past programs, visit http://www.columbiaorchestra.org.