The San Diego Symphony (www.sandiegosymphony.org) is a vibrant centerpiece of the cultural life of San Diego, its musicians serving as links throughout the community and the orchestra itself providing a vast central array of concerts for all musical tastes and ages. The Symphony seeks a creative and experienced individual for the position of Director of Orchestra Operations to deepen ties with its community and expand the education opportunities afforded by the platform of a major symphony orchestra.
The Symphony’s ties with its community are of long standing. It performed its first concert in 1910 under the leadership of its first music director, Buren Schryock, who continued to lead the Symphony prior to America’s entry into WWI. In the mid-1920’s, under the direction of Nino Marcelli, a gifted educator, composer and conductor, the Symphony acquired the name “San Diego Symphony.”
In 1929, the orchestra’s current home was built as the Fox Theater, a luxury movie theater in the French Rococo Style. The theater was acquired by the Symphony in 1984-85, renamed Copley Symphony Hall and restored to its original grandeur. Further renovations to the lobbies, bathrooms and other spaces were completed in 2014, and the entire performance venue was named the Jacobs Music Center. The concert hall accommodates 2,231 patrons. In addition to its performances in Symphony Hall, the symphony serves as the orchestra for all San Diego Opera productions throughout its season at the Civic Theater. The Symphony’s current summer home is Embarcadero Marina Park South, and a new summer venue called the Bayside Performance Park is in the planning stage.
The San Diego Symphony, which is comprised of 82 full-time professional musicians, has achieved remarkable artistic growth and met a wealth of organizational challenges over the last decade. It stands ready to launch into a new era of cultural, community and artistic success. The 2016-17 season began with the search for a Music Director to provide new leadership for artistic exploration and development. As the result of an extensive search, Rafael Payare will conduct his first performance in January of 2019 as Music Director Designate, and will begin as Music Director in September, 2019. Martha Gilmer was appointed Chief Executive Officer in October of 2014. Her leadership is guiding a nimble culture, enabling the organization to respond with new ideas and a great deal of energy. This is a moment to engage others in the city and its surroundings and ensure that the San Diego Symphony is a key partner in shaping the future of San Diego, from its vibrant downtown performance spaces to its community centers, schools, hospitals, libraries, and other places where its citizens gather.
The Symphony is thus poised to take on a larger role in the fabric of the community. It aspires as well, through successful innovative programming and creative partnerships, to become a beacon for performing arts institutions nationally and internationally.
The Director of Orchestra Operations is a strategic leader responsible for influencing and executing the long-term plans for the orchestra’s daily operations. 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 position will report to the Vice President of Artistic Planning and Audience Development and work closely with other senior management leaders to assure that the musicians of the San Diego Symphony orchestra are supported at the highest level.
This position is responsible for accurately maintaining deep knowledge and management of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the Integrated Media Agreement (IMA) with the musicians and consistently executing the terms; this requires proven experience with labor union relationships. In addition, this position is expected to maintain 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, artistic administration, artist managers, facility management, administrative staff, volunteers, and event staff.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Ensure the efficient and effective operation of all orchestra-related activities.
Coordinate all issues related to the Orchestra Members and guest artists.
Impact the goals of the SDSO Strategic Plan as it relates to Orchestra Operations and formulate long-term planning for the organization.
Contracts and Negotiations:
Manage orchestra operations issues and make sure that the orchestra is in compliance with contracts for services and guest artists.
Monitor compliance with all union contracts and collective bargaining agreements including the SDSO Master Agreement, media agreements, and any other trade agreements that govern SDSO services.
Make solid and sound decisions based on correct interpretation of contract terms including CBA and IMA.
Execute preparation & research for SDSO contract negotiations. Consult with management negotiation team as necessary during negotiations.
Partner with Vice President of Artistic Planning on electronic media projects, including, but not limited to audio and visual, internet and web-based technologies.
Ensure compliance with all national and international media guidelines and agreements, including the Integrated Media Agreement.
Collaborate with the CFO to develop and oversee all budgets for orchestra operations.
Manage Orchestra Operations resources within approved budgets.
Supervise Orchestra Operations and Personnel staff.
Manage audition process through final auditions; arrange extended audition periods and coordinate official starting dates and membership.
Negotiate all individual musician contracts.
Use creative and strategic methods to identify musicians and encourage excellence at auditions, particularly for open positions and short-term vacancies.
Partner with the VP of Artistic Planning on Orchestra to support productions that have requirements beyond standard concert presentation.
Oversee Personnel Managers.
Serve as management liaison to Orchestra Members; be attentive to their concerns and related issues affecting their work; arrange meetings between members, conductors and Administrative staff as requested.
Oversee and approve the Personnel function around leave requests and ensure that is it fair and equitable.
Inform senior management of relevant situations in regards to personnel personal, health, and family matters as appropriate and respectful of privacy concerns.
Develop, direct and mentor Orchestra Operations staff through coaching and when appropriate, delegation of additional duties.
Ensure payroll processes are accurate and in compliance with the Master Agreement.
Work with SDSO library to determine personnel requirements for musical works and alert production staff of logistical issues in large-scale productions.
Oversee the administration of musician instrument inventory and insurance program.
Serve as a primary contact for the leadership committees of the Orchestra.
Serve on standing and ad hoc committees in the organization, providing input from an Orchestra Operations perspective. Represent Leadership on Artistic and Negotiations Committees.
Oversee logistics of venues, personnel, instruments and equipment for tours and run-outs.
Oversee local fee, contracted concert, run-out, and tour activities including negotiating concert fees and exploring new venue/presenter options.
Travel with the Orchestra on tours and run-outs.
Bachelor’s degree, with extensive experience (minimum 6-8 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.
History of successful collaborations with Orchestra musicians, high-profile 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.
Able to sit or stand for long periods of time.
Able to pick up and move a minimum of 20 lbs.
Regular, predictable attendance required, as well as numerous evening and weekend work shifts.
Normal office working conditions: sitting at a desk and computer terminal for long periods of time, typing and computer work, light to moderate lifting.
Normal backstage working conditions: standing for long periods of time, light to moderate lifting, noisy atmosphere.
About The San Diego Symphony Orchestra
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.