Since its founding in 1929, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra (WSO) has enriched the cultural life of Wheeling and the Ohio Valley with outstanding orchestra performances, exceptionally gifted musicians, internationally acclaimed guest artists, and excellent educational programs. The Orchestra performs a seven-concert subscription series at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling. The WSO’s holiday spectacular Symphony on Ice draws community participation from area skate clubs, middle and high school choirs, and business and local partners.
The WSO’s annual outdoor concerts are the centerpieces for community-wide celebrations on the Fourth of July at Wheeling’s Heritage Port and on Labor Day Weekend at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater in Oglebay Park. These concerts and their run-out performances in Clarksburg, Weirton, and Canaan Valley, WV draw thousands of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania residents each summer. Throughout the calendar year, WSO on the Go ensemble performances bring music to neighborhoods in Wheeling and surrounding communities in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The WSO’s Young People’s Concerts reach thousands of elementary students throughout the tri-state area each year. These concerts, coupled with the Arts in Education chamber music program and the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra, demonstrate the Wheeling Symphony’s commitment to education for all students.
In 2019, the WSO welcomed it new Music Director, John Devlin, whose tenure coincided with the onset of the pandemic. Under his leadership, the WSO responded to the challenges of the pandemic with enormous creativity and imagination. A new series called SoundBites teamed local chefs with John Devlin to create meals that were complemented by musical performances. The WSO activated new and old spaces as venues for concerts and performed throughout the city. The Orchestra televised concerts for the first time, created virtual programming, and continued to bring free WSO On the Go concerts to the entire Ohio Valley. Capacity audiences responded with enthusiasm, and the WSO received the West Virginia Governor’s Award for Resiliency in the Arts.
The Wheeling Symphony is governed by a 30-member Board of Directors and has a staff of six. The WSO’s operating budget for the 2022-23 Season is $1.8M.
The next Executive Director (ED) of the Wheeling Symphony will take the helm of a financially sound organization that is poised for significant transformation. The ED will have the opportunity to guide the design and implementation of a campaign to build an endowment that will help assure the financial sustainability of the WSO for many seasons to come.
The ED will partner with Music Director John Devlin and lead the WSO on a journey of musical exploration, community engagement, and social responsibility that few orchestras of similar size can boast. With the Music Director, the ED will reaffirm the WSO’s commitment to three primary artistic ideals: to support American music written and performed by composers and solo artists of diverse backgrounds and styles; to present innovative and forward-looking concert experiences; and to shine a light on the musicians of the WSO through programming, marketing, and special performance opportunities.
The next Executive Director will join the WSO at the start of the 2022-23 Season at the Capitol Theatre with guest soloist Yo-Yo Ma and the premiere of a commissioned beat-box concerto by Evan Meier with soloist Christylez Bacon.
Nestled in verdant West Virginia hills, Wheeling is a city rich in history, architecture, and art. Over the decades, Wheeling has experienced times of great prosperity and times of economic stress. What has never changed is the generosity and affection of its citizens who have endowed the city with a wealth of civic institutions nearly unparalleled in a community of its size. Wheeling boasts outstanding public and private schools, a vast municipal park system, and a cost of living far more reasonable than most metropolitan areas. Yet Wheeling is less than an hour from downtown Pittsburgh and a 40-minute drive to Pittsburgh International Airport. In recent years, Wheeling has experienced a dramatic transformation of its downtown with the repurposing of historic industrial and retail structures as lofts and residences that now surround the WSO’s concert hall and offices.
The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and reports to the Board of Directors. In collaboration with the Board and the Music Director, the ED provides leadership that allows the WSO to realize its vision, fulfill its mission, and achieve its goals for artistic success, financial stability, and community engagement. The ED is responsible and accountable for all aspects of the WSO’s operations, including: fundraising; marketing and public relations; audience growth and development; budgeting and financial management; human resources; artistic administration; concert production; collective bargaining negotiations; education programs and activities; and community engagement.
The Executive Director takes a leadership role in fundraising and actively pursues philanthropic support from individuals, businesses and corporations, local and national foundations, and government agencies. The ED provides impetus and support to the fundraising efforts of the Board and ensures excellent stewardship of all gifts. The ED will take the lead in the planning and implementation of an upcoming endowment campaign.
The Executive Director works in partnership with the Music Director to create programs that appeal to orchestra musicians and audiences alike. The ED oversees the design and implementation of a comprehensive marketing plan to grow the audience for the Wheeling Symphony. In collaboration with the Music Director, the ED maintains an environment that fosters creativity and allows all artists to do their best work. The ED leads and motivates a high caliber administrative staff. The ED provides guidance and support to those who serve the orchestra as volunteers.
The Executive Director is the spokesperson and visible representative of the WSO in the Wheeling community, the state of West Virginia, and throughout the tri-state area. The ED is a full-time resident of Wheeling and is an active participant in the city’s civic and cultural life. The ED ensures that the Wheeling Symphony plays a major role in community-wide activities, events, and celebrations. The Executive Director is a passionate advocate for music, orchestras, and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra throughout the Wheeling community.
The successful candidate will be an experienced arts leader who combines a passion for orchestras with a thorough working knowledge of symphony orchestras and the music they play. The candidate will fully embrace the vision, mission, and values of the Wheeling Symphony. Prior leadership experience with a professional orchestra will be considered an asset.
The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic and supportive partner with the Music Director. The candidate will embrace the Wheeling Symphony’s commitment to programming new music, American music, and the music of historically excluded and under-represented composers. The candidate will have a strong interest in and experience with education programs for both children and adults.
The successful candidate will have a track record for achieving earned and contributed income goals and balanced budgets. The candidate will have excellent budgeting, financial management, and forecasting skills and successful experience in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting donors. Successful experience with endowment fundraising will be an asset. The candidate will have a proven track record for building and retaining concert audiences.
The successful candidate will have superb interpersonal skills. The candidate will have the demonstrated ability to work and communicate with people of diverse backgrounds, education, financial capacity, and interests. The candidate will have the curiosity and imagination to explore new ways to bring the Orchestra into the lives of new audiences and new communities. The candidate will actively seek opportunities to develop partnerships and collaborations.
The successful candidate will be a dynamic, engaging, and inspirational leader who will be a passionate and articulate advocate for the value and importance of orchestras in general and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra in particular. The successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to make a home in Wheeling and become a fully engaged member of the Wheeling community.
The salary range for this position is $70,000 – $90,000 annually and is commensurate with qualifications and experience.
The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes recommendations, nominations, and applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or national origin.
Please prepare a cover letter that describes your specific interest in the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and outlines your qualifications for the position. Please submit with a resume, salary requirements, and contact information for at least three professional references. Electronic submissions are requested. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
Formed in 1998, the Catherine French Group works with symphony orchestras, opera companies, performing arts presenters, music festivals, schools of music, and other music and arts organizations as they recruit chief executives, senior management, and artistic personnel. The Catherine French Group is based in Washington, DC. Catherine French is founder and principal. Musician, administrator, and educator Christopher Wingert joined CFG in 2005 and is Managing Director. Henry Fogel, former CEO of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and former Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, collaborates on projects that have a special focus on music directors and artistic directors.