The mission of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) is to teach and inspire excellence through orchestral training, to perform in premier venues, and to cultivate audiences for classical music.
The PYSO is a top tier youth orchestra program that draws talented musicians from a wide area of the Pittsburgh region. PYSO members bring a sense of amazement and excitement about classical music to diverse audiences-young and old, novice and seasoned.
The PYSO is celebrating its 75th year! Founded in 1945, the PYSO has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). With its home at Heinz Hall, PYSO benefits from the coaching guidance of PSO musicians and the tradition of hiring the PSO Associate Conductor as its music director and conductor.
Many PYSO alumni have won positions in major symphony orchestras both in the United States and abroad. Others have gone on to very successful solo and chamber music careers, or have held important teaching positions at colleges, universities, public and private schools, and private studios. Most of those who have not chosen careers in music will appreciate and support the arts and become the audience members of the future.
PYSO is comprised of approximately 90 to 100 musicians, whose ages range from 14 to 20. The yearly program of the orchestra consists of concerts at Heinz Hall and several other venues across Pittsburgh. The orchestra has the unique opportunity to participate in international concert tours scheduled every three years. Past tours have included concert performances and visits to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, and China.
In addition to regular seasonal activity, the PYSO collaborates with the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra in a program titled YC2, short for Youth Chamber Connection. Students from both programs form chamber music groups which rehearse, receive weekly coaching, and enjoy performance opportunities.
Following the long and successful tenure of current Executive Director (ED) Craig Johnson, the PYSO seeks a leader with a strong appreciation and knowledge of music. A successful ED will understand current trends in orchestral education and effectively serve as the public face of the organization. The multi-faceted responsibilities of this position require an individual with demonstrated leadership skills and management experience; a leader who has the ability to build and coordinate a cohesive team, can work effectively with board and community members, and will collaborate with artistic personnel to ensure the integrity and growth of orchestral programming.
In tandem with the PYSO’s small but strong team, the ED will strive to uphold the mission of the orchestra providing operational oversight and coordination to programs that further the proficiency and performance quality of young classical musicians. This new leader will drive organizational success, from both a programmatic and fundraising perspective.
PYSO’s general operating budget is approximately $375K annually. The ED reports to a Board of Directors and supervises a staff of 2-3, along with various coaches as needed.
The ED is primarily responsible for the following:
Organizational Leadership and Management
Ensure that the organization effectively achieves its mission by providing oversight of day-to-day operations, human resources, fiscal management, and programming.
Lead the continuous review and implementation of a strategic plan for the organization that supports the artistic, financial, and public relations objectives of the organization in collaboration with staff and board. Establish and effectively execute an annual operating plan which strengthens organizational success and sustainability.
Develop and manage PYSO’s annual budget and year-round programming to establish a clear and sustainable financial model.
Create a workplace that is collaborative, professional, and positive.
Artistic and Program Administration
Coordinate, integrate, and manage the delivery of all music and educational programs. Guide staff and board in the creation, implementation, and monitoring of PYSO’s artistic, educational, and creative youth development objectives.
Work in collaboration with the Program Director and Music Director to innovate and ensure excellence and engagement with a diverse group of youth and young adults.
Develop an annual plan for performance operations, including rehearsal schedules, concerts, touring, program themes and ideas, special events, and audience development.
In consultation with the Music Director:
Select guest artists, guest conductors, guests performing groups, and programs to support PYSO’s artistic and educational objectives.
Seek and obtain new opportunities for performances by the PYSO and the small ensembles that it sponsors.
Recruit talented orchestra members and build participation in programming.
Engage with student musicians and parents regularly through attendance of rehearsals, etc. PYSO operates a flexible schedule. Evening and weekend hours are often required, especially during concert seasons.
Manage the tasks required for orchestra international tours (currently scheduled every 3 years). Collaborate with the Tour Committee on the oversight of the tour budget and funding, review of proposals and itineraries, and selection of the tour destination. Visit potential international venues.
Revenue Generation and Community Relations
Lead all fund development initiatives. Develop and implement a fundraising strategy that will identify and cultivate potential opportunity for advancement as well as build on existing relationships with individuals and organizations.
Work closely with funders to ensure the ongoing engagement and stewardship of existing donors.
Lead all aspects of the grant process, including research, writing, submission, and reporting.
Actively seek, identify, and explore the viability of powerful partnerships that advance music in our communities.
Effectively engage with all PYSO’s constituent groups: student musicians, the Parents’ Association, the community at large, alumni, coaches, schools, volunteer groups, and other arts organizations.
Develop and implement a marketing plan that seeks to elevate PYSO’s community visibility and interest.
Act as primary liaison to the Board of Directors, engaging Board members in the current and future needs of the organization and ensuring the Board is able to fulfill its oversight responsibilities.
Develop, maintain, and support a high-performing, engaged, and increasingly diverse PYSO Board of Directors. Understand how to maximize the resources of the Board and seek their involvement in policy decisions, fundraising, and strategic planning.
Participate in Board recruitment and collaborate with Board leadership to promote governance best practices.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
A leader in music, the ED of the PYSO will have a compassionate and collaborative spirit. PYSO’s leader will be committed to achieving artistic excellence as well as contributing to the holistic growth and well-being of orchestra members. All candidates should excel in nonprofit management and relationship cultivation. The position requires a forward-thinking, entrepreneurial leader with deep understanding of music education, current trends in youth orchestral education, and the ability to establish community partnerships. Concrete demonstrable experience, competencies, and qualifications include:
Prior experience in arts production or event management is preferred.
Knowledge of orchestral music and programming is preferred.
Passion to work with and inspire young people; interest in exploring innovative, contemporary approaches in order to ensure program relevance.
Demonstrated success coordinating a collaborative team. Experience in hiring, managing, and retaining talented staff.
Ability to serve as an ambassador for the PYSO. Strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as public speaking ability.
Ability to serve as the organization’s primary fundraiser. Proven fundraising success and grant management experience is strongly preferred.
Past success working with a Board of Directors; the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships and build an effective and diverse team.
Strong organizational leadership skills, with an ability to articulate a clear and inspiring vision and strategy for the PYSO while encouraging collaboration and building consensus.
Proficiency with technologies in music and virtual programming is preferred.
Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends. The presence of the Executive Director at rehearsals is expected so that she/he knows both the students and the parents within the PYSO family.
Experience developing and adhering to budgets and maintaining financial records.
In the near term, the new ED will be expected to continue to deliver outstanding outcomes while successfully addressing the following in the first 6-12 months:
Identify and cultivate the relationships most valuable to the PYSO through personal meetings and interaction: Staff, Board, Community Partners, Parents’ Association, etc.
Organize and execute a board retreat. Work cooperatively with the Board to refine and implement an updated Strategic Plan.
Devise a creative plan to include small group and virtual programming that maintains and builds community engagement with the PYSO.
This position offers a competitive compensation package, including a salary range of $75K-$80K and a complement of health and retirement benefits.
How to apply
The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra has retained Nonprofit Talent to assist with this important organizational change process. Specific questions related to the position may be emailed to Lauren Julius at email@example.com. Applications are not accepted at this email address. Please do not contact the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Resume, position specific cover letter, and salary expectations may be uploaded here:
The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer.
About Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra
The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra is one of the city's cultural treasures. Founded in 1945, it cultivates in its members discipline, fine musicianship and an overall appreciation for excellence. PYSO members bring a sense of amazement and excitement about classical music to diverse audiences-young and old, novice and seasoned. Through their impressive performances, dedication and commitment they also serve as role-models for aspiring younger musicians and students. Through their demanding tours in the U.S. and internationally, they have become outstanding cultural ambassadors of the Pittsburgh Region, Pennsylvania, and the United States.
Many PYSO alumni have won positions in major symphony orchestras, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and our own Pittsburgh Symphony, to name a few. Others have gone on to very successful solo and chamber music careers, as well as important teaching positions at colleges, universities, public and private schools, and private studios. Those who have not chosen careers in music will undoubtedly cultivate a lifelong appreciation of the arts and become the audience members of the future.