Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Vice President VSO School of Music Community Programs

Vice President, VSO School of Music & Community Programs


Founded in 1919, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is one of the largest arts organizations in Western Canada, the third largest orchestral music organization in Canada, and one of the few orchestras in North America to have its own community music school. Maestro Otto Tausk will become Music Director beginning in July 2018 for the VSO’s 100th anniversary season, succeeding the VSO’s longest serving Music Director, Maestro Bramwell Tovey, who will assume the title of Music Director Emeritus.

The mission of the VSO is to enrich and transform lives through music. The VSO fulfills its mission by presenting passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular, and culturally diverse music; creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds; and developing and delivering inspirational education and community programs. Performing more than 150 concerts per year throughout Vancouver, the surrounding communities, and the province of British Columbia, the VSO serves over 250,000 patrons annually, including 50,000 children and young adults. The VSO has an operating budget of $16 million, 104 full-time employees (70 musicians and 34 staff), and is governed by a 23-member board of directors.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music (VSO School of Music) is a purpose-built facility that opened in 2011. The VSO School of Music embraces a community-centered philosophy, with a vision to lead by leveraging the strengths of the VSO and its musicians through complementary and joyful learning experiences. It enriches the lives of students of all ages, infant through adult, by facilitating the learning, playing, and performing of the world’s great music. The VSO School of Music offers comprehensive and integrated programs taught by exceptional and passionate faculty whose goals are to engage and inspire students while celebrating their accomplishments.

Adjacent to the VSO’s primary performance venue, the Orpheum Theatre, the VSO School of Music is a modern educational institution where students of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can enjoy lifelong learning. It serves approximately 1,600 students each year and caters to all ability levels, from beginner to aspiring professional. The VSO School of Music offers individual instruction and ensemble opportunities in a variety of genres, including classical, jazz, early learning, vocal arts, and world music. The VSO School of Music is governed by an eight-member board that oversees an annual program budget of $2 million.

The VSO School of Music is a state of the art urban learning centre that features:

  • Individual instruction with 18 private teaching studios and six practice rooms.
  • Group instruction with two large ensemble rooms that host early learning classes, group lessons, and sectional rehearsals.
  • Performance space with a 126-seat intimate recital hall acoustically designed for recording and/or performance.
  • Skilled faculty totalling 134 members representing VSO musicians, genre specialists, and highly skilled musician/educators.
  • Opportunities designed to appeal to all students and ensembles by skill level, age, and genre.
  • Interaction between students and the international talent of VSO guest artists through performance opportunities, masterclasses, and lecture/demonstration.

Education and Learning

The VSO has an impressive array of education and community programs that play an important part of its mission. The VSO education and community programs are self-sustaining through earned and contributed revenues against a program and department budget of $500,000. Recently, the VSO received a three-year (2017-2019) test grant from Vancouver Foundation of $225,000 to expand community engagement activities and social impact. VSO education and community programs include:

  • Elementary School Concerts: The VSO performs 12 concerts each year for students in Kindergarten through Grade 7, serving 25,000 students from more than 490 participating schools.
  • Symphonic Encounters: A series of five open rehearsals offer secondary and post-secondary school students an opportunity to go behind the scenes with the VSO.
  • TD All-Access Pass:This pass offers more than 4,300 students and anyone ages 35 or younger an opportunity to attend a VSO concert for only $15.
  • VSO Connects: The Music Director, VSO musicians, and post-secondary music students make more than 100 visits to elementary and secondary schools in six of metropolitan Vancouver’s school districts annually.
  • VSO Teacher Ticket Pass/Professional Development: Teacher workshops are offered biennially and certified BC teachers can access two tickets to any eligible concert throughout the season.
  • Clinics & Masterclasses:VSO musicians and guest artists share their expertise with students of the VSO School of Music, UBC School of Music, Vancouver Academy of Music, and North Vancouver School District.
  • Kids’ Koncerts: Concert series presenting five Sunday matinees for children ages four through 11 and their families.
  • Tiny Tots:A 16-concert series presented by early childhood educators for infants and children up to 5 years old.
  • Jean Coulthard Readings: Gives emerging British Columbian composers the opportunity to have their work played by the VSO.
  • VSO Co-Productions: The VSO is committed to working with the next generation of musicians by giving students performance opportunities alongside professional musicians through collaborations with youth bands and orchestras from the North Vancouver School District and the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra.
  • Giving Back: The VSO supports charity fundraising efforts through the donation of tickets for auction.
  • Education & Community Partnerships: The VSO maintains partnerships with the Coalition for Music Education in BC, UBC’s School of Music, VSO School of Music, Vancouver Academy of Music, and Saint James Music Academy.
  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestral Institute at Whistler: Students from all over the world study with members of the VSO and the Music Director in the beautiful resort municipality of Whistler.


Vancouver was recognized as the top Canadian city by Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2014 World’s Best Awards. The city was also named the top Canadian destination by TripAdvisor’s 2016 Travellers’ Choice awards and was chosen as the best place to live in North America (and number five in the world) in Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living survey. Vancouver offers residents both outstanding opportunities for outdoor adventure and the sophisticated amenities of a world-class city. The city is unique due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful Gulf Islands to the west, and the snow-capped Coast Mountains immediately to the north. It is home to the largest city park in North America, Stanley Park, as well as miles of easily accessible beaches and a spectacular city skyline. Hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010 galvanized Vancouver and gave rise to a glittering range of Olympic sporting facilities. The Games were also the impetus for substantial improvements on the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway. This connected Vancouver with its co-host Whistler, which is 100 kilometres to the north and one of the top skiing destinations in North America. The Canada Line, a new metro line that connects the southern suburb of Richmond with the airport and the downtown core, opened late 2009.

Vancouver is an ethnically diverse city. Approximately 50 percent of Vancouver’s residents and about 44 percent of Metropolitan (Greater) Vancouver’s residents do not identify English as their first language. Vancouver takes pride in its status as one of the world’s best cities in which to live and is renowned for its innovative programs in the areas of environmental sustainability, accessibility, and inclusivity. British Columbia, with Vancouver as its commercial hub, has one of Canada’s most prosperous economies. The city is among the country’s largest industrial centres and has a highly diversified economy, with Canada’s largest port handling $200 million of cargo per day.

A vibrant, growing film industry has developed in Vancouver–or “Hollywood North,” as it is sometimes described–producing the second largest number of television shows of any location in North America. The city’s rich cultural background has helped produce a spectrum of artistic expression and a thriving creative community. Numerous annual festivals bring excitement to Vancouver, including the Honda Celebration of Light, TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, and Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Vancouver is home to more than 50 professional theatre companies, a major international theatre festival (Vancouver Fringe Festival), two outdoor theatrical events (Bard on the Beach and Theatre Under the Stars), and the Vancouver Opera. Vancouver’s dance scene is one of Canada’s best, with regular performances by Ballet BC and more than 25 other local professional dance companies.

Rogers Arena and BC Place, the two stadiums in downtown Vancouver, host concerts for large scale, international musical stars and professional sports teams. Vancouver has two major universities, The University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University. Vancouver also features several community colleges, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the Vancouver Film School, and high-quality elementary and high schools.

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The Vice President, VSO School of Music & Community Programs (VP) will be a strategic thinker and leader responsible for overseeing all aspects of education, community programs, and the VSO School of Music. Reporting to the President and working closely with the Music Director and other senior management colleagues, the VP will be the senior music educator who will ensure that educational and learning programs are integrated into a comprehensive approach that complements and leverages the artistic strengths of the VSO. The VP will evaluate, enhance, and expand education programs; foster deep relationships with educators; offer programs of the highest quality and variety; build programs that provide an unparalleled learning experience; enhance participation in music; and connect the VSO to communities in Greater Vancouver and beyond.

Roles and Responsibilities

Stakeholder Engagement and Satisfaction

  • Deeply understand and embrace the important relationships between faculty and students at the VSO School of Music, teachers and their students in public education, parents’ questions and concerns for their children, and staff in supporting the delivery of exemplary programs.
  • Oversee, direct, develop, and manage a structure that instills and perpetuates an organizational culture of trust, cooperation, and collaboration among internal and external stakeholders.
  • Develop and maintain effective staffing, policies, and practices to achieve organizational goals.
  • Oversee the recruitment and retention of faculty with Faculty Chairs, understanding that full-time VSO musicians interested in and capable of teaching at the VSO School of Music are a vital component of the school’s profile.
  • Liaise with parents and students whenever possible to ensure the best educational experience.
  • Lead staff to ensure that day-to-day operations engage faculty, students, parents, and teachers and that programs deliver memorable experiences.
  • Listen carefully, speak persuasively, and anticipate the concerns of parents, students, faculty, staff, board members, external partners, donors, and the public.

Community Outreach and Revenue Enhancement

  • Serve as the key spokesperson, with the President and Music Director as appropriate, on the importance of music education and establish a strong profile in the community to promote an understanding of the VSO’s education and community program goals and objectives, cultivating a strong brand image for the VSO.
  • In partnership with the VSO’s Vice President, Marketing and Sales, oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive marketing and communications program that supports the achievement of participation and revenue goals established in the VSO and VSO School of Music’s annual budgets and strategic plans.
  • Collaborate with the VSO’s Vice President, Chief Development Officer and participate in ongoing fundraising campaigns for annual, capital, scholarship, and endowment funds in support of the VSO School of Music and education and community programs.
  • Leverage the VSO’s wealth of diversity in musical pedagogy, genres, and ensembles to increase visibility, participation levels, and performance opportunities.

Program Evaluation, Development, and Delivery

  • Design policies and systems that support the development and delivery of high caliber programs and services.
  • Leverage the VSO’s strong reputation as an extraordinary provider of music education and community programs and develop future opportunities for expansion and growth.
  • Develop new partnership agreements with schools and community organizations to advance the VSO’s education and community program activities throughout the Greater Vancouver area.
  • Establish a process to regularly evaluate and improve components of the VSO’s education, community, and VSO School of Music programs.
  • Ensure an integrated process that empowers VSO musicians and faculty in the recruitment of a balanced instructor contingent that meets the demand for all community music programs.
  • Coordinate with the VSO’s Music Director and Vice President, Artistic Planning to identify and develop innovative programs that enhance the VSO’s primary artistic and educational goals and community engagement initiatives.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of emerging trends in education, public programs, and community music schools to the benefit of VSO stakeholders.

Financial and Operational Management

  • Guide the financial and operational management of the VSO’s education, community programs, and VSO School of Music.
  • Develop annual operating budgets with the President and Vice President, Finance & Administration and ensure that activities are carried out in accordance with the budget.
  • Cultivate and mentor a strong administrative team that is accountable for the day-to-day functioning of the education, community, and VSO School of Music programs and ensure that its activities are consistent with the mission, philosophy, and goals of the VSO.
  • Supervise the Director, Education & Community Programs, the Director, VSO School of Music, and their support teams.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of policies and practices that result in a strong, effective employee and faculty team that work as a cohesive unit in the achievement of the VSO’s objectives.
  • Oversee the contracting of outside renters of the VSO School of Music facilities to establish and grow rental revenue, keeping in mind that these activities must be in alignment with the VSO’s brand and are secondary to its core programs.

Traits and Characteristics

The VP will greatly value and be motivated by the knowledge, continuing education, intellectual growth, and creative self-expression that artistic endeavors provide. Deeply people-oriented, the VP will have effective interpersonal skills as well as a competitive drive for excellence. A mentor with the ability to earn the respect of seasoned educators, musicians, faculty, and staff, the VP will be a facilitator who builds consensus among diverse stakeholder groups while delivering superior programs and services. This individual will be an open and confident educator who enjoys exploring program development and the delivery of ideas through to successful implementation. The VP will have a passion for music education and advocacy for its importance.

Other key competencies include the following:

  • Diplomacy and Teamwork – The capacity to treat others fairly and interact in a positive manner while working effectively and productively as a unified team.
  • Self-Management and Personal Accountability – The competence to manage time and priorities to meet or exceed mutually agreed upon expectations, assuming accountability for leadership decisions and actions.
  • Customer Focus and Empathy – The dexterity to identify with and care about diverse stakeholder perspectives, including those of faculty, students, parents, teachers, and staff, and commit to their satisfaction.


Qualified applicants must have a master’s degree in music education, performance, arts administration, or related field as well as a minimum of five to seven years of related senior management experience. In addition to expertise in the listed roles and responsibilities, the successful candidate must be committed to music education, as both a vocation and avocation, and to the concept that music is a core element in a holistic approach to human development at all stages of life.

Compensation and Benefits

The VSO offers a competitive salary and benefits package that includes extended medical insurance (group health and dental), paid time off, 5 percent contribution to a RRSP plan, short and long-term disability insurance, and the quality of life that Vancouver offers.

Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:

Mr. Martin Bragg, Senior Vice President

ACG Contact Logo

1811 4th Street SW, Suite 523
Calgary, Alberta T2S 1W2
Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 205

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer that
welcomes any qualified and values diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.

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