The Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra (SMSO) is a union orchestra operating on a collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Musicians. The orchestra employs a minimum of 60 per service contract musicians and holds membership in the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA). A typical performance season includes a series of 4-5 Mainstage Concerts, performed at LMC Mendel Mainstage in Benton Harbor and The Howard Performing Arts Center in Berrien Springs; a series of 3-4 Pops Concerts in the summer at Shadowland Pavilion, Silver Beach.
The SMSO is governed by a 14-18 member Board of Directors, with two spots open for orchestra members. The orchestra operates on an annual budget of approximately $800k and has an endowment of approximately $1 million. The current Music Director, Robin Fountain, resides in Nashville and has led the orchestra for the past 14 seasons. The SMSO has a full time staff of two and a part time staff of three.
About Southwest Michigan:
Southwest Michigan is known for quaint beach towns and miles of sandy beaches. Discover local U-Pick farms, lush with blueberries, peaches, apples and taste the fruit of the vine at one of the many wineries in the region. Tee off along the breathtaking shores of Lake Michigan at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
The whole family will enjoy one-of-a-kind attractions like the Silver Beach Carousel, the Whirlpool Fountain Splash Pad, Curious Kids Museum, Krasl Art Fair, Benton Harbor Arts District and unique shopping experiences. Southwest Michigan offers a dynamic arts and culture scene that includes a multitude of events, classes, performances and festivals.
The role of the Southwest Michigan Orchestra’s Music Director is:
Artistic: In consultation with the Executive Director and Board, the Music Director drives the orchestra’s artistic decisions and activities, including programming, guest artist selection, and special projects. The Music Director shall prepare the orchestra, conduct necessary rehearsals, concerts and do all other things required to present the concerts. The Music Director shall provide direct oversight of all musical and educational programs. This would include regular, routine and ongoing review of the programs as well as direct communication with all instructors to receive updates and address issues as they arise.
Administrative: The Music Director works closely with the Executive Director to lead the SMSO, both reporting directly to the Board of Directors. The Music Director makes artistic decisions within a set financial framework, and provides regular support to marketing and fundraising initiatives. Although residence in Southwest Michigan is not required, the Music Director is expected to spend significant time in Southwest Michigan in addition to rehearsal and performance time for community and Board-related matters.
Community: The Music Director participates actively, frequently, and directly in community engagement and outreach initiatives, embracing the cultivation and stewardship of patrons, media, funders, and community members. The Music Director is committed to raising the profile of the orchestra, expanding its audience, and ensuring its ongoing sustainability. The Music Director will be required to have a significant presence in the community.
Community Relationships: The Music Director will play a key role in enhancing community pride in, and connection with, the SMSO. S/he will work closely with staff and volunteers to steward and build a committed core audience, representative of the community as a whole. S/he will be a powerful and effective ambassador for the SMSO capable of telling its story and generating support. S/he will be willing and able to participate actively in the orchestra’s communications, marketing, and fundraising activities, and will possess strong interpersonal skills including public speaking, the use of conventional and social media, and face-to-face contact with individuals and groups.
HOW TO APPLY
Please submit your resume and a cover letter expressing your interest directly to the following email@example.com
Please send your cover letter and resume as one single PDF file. The document name must follow the following format: Candidate Last name, Candidate First Name - Cover Letter and Resume. Do not send videos at this time. Videos will be requested at a later date.
All cover letters and resumes must be received by November 7, 2019. No late submissions will be considered.
Masters degree in orchestral conducting from an accredited school or equivalent professional experience
Strong interpersonal communication & collaborative skills
Three years conducting experience
Demonstrated success in fundraising and audience development
About Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
The Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra (SMSO) was founded in 1950 when a few far-sighted community leaders had a courageous vision that the twin cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor could create and sustain a symphony orchestra. In 2006, Maestro Robin Fountain became the Symphony’s fifth Music Director. The SMSO presents a minimum of 8 concerts, split between the Mainstage Season and the Summer Season, each year to engage the community in the exploration of orchestral music in all of its forms. Its highly qualified musician pool is drawn from a large multi-state area. Our educational outreach includes The Lake Michigan Youth Orchestra (LMYO), Music Makers, SMSO 4UR School and Master Classes. Organized in 1978, LMYO performs three concerts annually, as well as a side-by-side concert with the SMSO.