Seattle Chamber Music Society
Seattle Chamber Music Society (SCMS) presents outstanding chamber music in the Pacific Northwest with festivals in January and July and community engagement programs through the year. Under the artistic leadership of violinist James Ehnes, preeminent musicians from around the world perform in the Nordstrom Recital Hall of Benaroya Hall in the heart of downtown Seattle.
This year, SCMS celebrates the 40th anniversary of its founding in 1982. In March 2020, after a successful $5 million dollar campaign, SCMS moved into its new home, the Center for Chamber Music (Center). Located in downtown Seattle just a short walk to Benaroya Hall, the Center will allow SCMS both to innovate and expand its programs. This 3,800-square-foot facility includes a 60-seat performance room, three rehearsal spaces, multiple pianos, a music library, and a fully equipped administrative area with box office.
The Center enabled SCMS’s nimble response to the pandemic. The complete summer festival in July 2020 was produced from the Center and distributed virtually to viewers worldwide. The experience with web-delivered virtual festivals will be a foundation for the future to supplement live concert festivals. As Seattle continues to expand in population and diversity, the Center will further help SCMS embrace the community and grow with it.
The first hallmark of SCMS is the excellence of its performances. By any measure, SCMS concerts show chamber music at its best, appreciated by an enthusiastic audience that most often fills the house. The second hallmark of SCMS is the spirit of hospitality and collegiality of its festivals. Players stay in the homes of board members and patrons during festivals and have developed life-long friendships centered on SCMS and their shared love of music. Musicians from around the world know the festivals by this unusual reputation and also enjoy the opportunity to play with old friends and new colleagues in a friendly atmosphere typical of the Pacific Northwest. Between festivals, the relationship with the SCMS community is nurtured by intimate home concerts.
Each festival concert is preceded by a free, informal recital by festival musicians that is open to the public. After most concerts, audience members are invited to stay for a discussion with the musicians. KING-FM, Seattle’s classical radio station, hosts a Classical Conversation podcast with the season’s musicians during the festivals. In the summer, the festival is shared with an audience under the stars via live broadcasts to five public parks in Seattle. The outdoor highlight of the summer festival is Chamber Music in the Park, where more than 3,000 fans of all ages gather on the lawn of Volunteer Park to enjoy a free concert by festival musicians.
Throughout the year, SCMS operates a number of programs for community engagement and educational outreach. Festival musicians often give master classes to aspiring young local musicians and take part in SCMS’s educational programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. During the school year, SCMS sponsors Chamber Music in the Classroom, in which local professional musicians connect with more than 600 middle and high school music students at five Seattle public schools.
SCMS is governed by a 26-member board of directors, led by President Jen Lee. In addition to the Executive Director, the staff consists of Directors of Development, Marketing and Communication, and Education and Operations, plus two support members. Fiscal year 2021 revenue is projected at $1.5 million.
Seattle is a port city on Puget Sound and part of the Pacific Rim. The land around the city is home to multiple indigenous tribes—Suquamish, Duwamish, Nisqually, Snoqualmie, and Muckleshoot—and named after Chief Seattle (1780-1866) of the Duwamish tribe. Founded in 1852, the city and adjacent region lie north of Mount Rainier and rest between the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.
Seattle’s traditional businesses centered on fishing and logging were eclipsed first by Boeing and the aerospace industry and then by Microsoft and the advent of digital technology. Today, many technology-related companies with national and international reach are major employers. Seattle has a highly educated population and many institutions of higher learning, including the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Seattle Pacific University. The economy is strong and continues to grow, attracting a young, educated, diverse, and progressive workforce.
Seattle’s maritime climate creates abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation on land and water, including skiing, hiking, boating, camping, biking, and other outdoor activities. For the sports-minded, six professional teams in soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, along with several college teams, are readily available. Seattle has a long history of active involvement in the arts. Many genres of music are enthusiastically supported by the local community. The Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and many theater groups and museums were well-established cultural institutions long before much of the world became aware of this city on the northwest edge of continental United States.
The Executive Director will be responsible for overseeing SCMS programs and the financial strategy to implement them. The major programs center on the live festivals and related activities in Seattle, emerging virtual presence of concerts and other content, community engagement efforts, and promotion of opportunities created by the Center. In close partnership with the Artistic Director, the Executive Director will lead SCMS in promoting the artistic vision and the strategic direction of SCMS programs. Reporting to and collaborating with the board of directors, the Executive Director will spearhead philanthropic support initiatives, develop community partnerships, and raise the visibility for SCMS regionally and nationally. This individual will guide a comprehensive strategic planning process with stakeholders to expand audience access, engagement, and participation in conjunction with SCMS’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. The Executive Director will mentor, model, and motivate staff in an inclusive and collegial manner while developing realistic goals and accountability measures.
Roles and Responsibilities
External Ambassadorship and Community Partnerships
- Serve as a visible external ambassador to build relationships with regional stakeholders and increase awareness of the artistic vision locally and chamber music nationally.
- Engage the board, staff, and key stakeholders in a comprehensive strategic planning process designed to drive the next decade of organizational growth.
- Identify opportunities to promote SCMS in the media and to expand SCMS exposure in the business, cultural, and political spheres in partnership with the Artistic Director, board, and staff.
- Establish and nurture meaningful cross-sector collaborations with arts and culture, education, and social impact partners.
- Embrace other external ambassadorship and community engagement responsibilities as needed.
Revenue Enhancement and Relationship Management
- Steward existing donor relationships, identify and cultivate new donor prospects, and solicit individual major donors in partnership with the board and staff.
- Develop and maintain relationships with foundations, corporations, government funding agencies, and other philanthropic supporters.
- Prioritize a customer-focused culture that ensures the diverse array of stakeholders, patrons, donors, musicians, staff, volunteers, and board members feel connected and appreciated at all levels of engagement with SCMS.
- Create and oversee planned giving and opportunities that honor SCMS’s legacy and inspire investment in its future.
- Engage in a relationship management and donor recognition protocol that deepens relationships, supports expanded fundraising activities, and provides greater linkages between donors and programs.
- Embrace other revenue enhancement and relationship management responsibilities as needed.
Program Management and Audience Development
- Leverage the Center by facilitating accessible and engaging music, education, and performance opportunities that encourage diverse audiences to discover the chamber music experience.
- Expand options for high-quality on-demand or streaming digital content via social media and other digital platforms.
- Ensure that the brand and institutional messages related to festivals, concerts, and performances accurately represent the high quality of the organization.
- Broaden the audience base by forming new relationships with the younger generation and with people from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Embrace other program management and audience development responsibilities as needed.
Financial Planning and Operations
- Oversee finance, human resources, operations, volunteer management, information technology systems, facilities, and processes.
- Meet and communicate regularly with board members to ensure that goals are met with respect to data driven policy decisions in strategy, finance, fundraising, and community engagement.
- Formulate financial models and budgets to assess revenue streams related to virtual content and utilization of the Center.
- Manage operating and facilities plans with an emphasis on maximizing utilization of the Center and ensure the continued smooth operation of SMCS festivals, concerts, and performances
- Embrace other financial planning and operations responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a personable leader who is invested in building meaningful relationships with an array of stakeholders and able to articulate the importance of chamber music in the cultural life of society. This individual will be goal-oriented, inclusive, and persistent in pursuing priorities focused on successful outcomes. A proactive leader, the Executive Director will value teamwork, recognize and appreciate colleagues, and celebrate their commitment to SCMS and the community it serves. The Executive Director will demonstrate transparency, provide consistent leadership, and exhibit flexibility to navigate unexpected circumstances with thoughtful, strategic, and analytical decision making.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to appropriately influence and inspire others, establish and build support for goals, and create and execute plans to achieve them while engaging the skill, passion, and energy of people to achieve an outcome.
- Interpersonal Skills and Professional Accountability – The dexterity to effectively communicate, build rapport through active listening, focus on the needs of others, and accept responsibility for professional actions.
- Customer and Donor Service – The aptitude to effectively and tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues and ensure that customers, donors, and other stakeholders are heard and valued.
- Planning, Organizing, and Flexibility – The capacity to navigate a consensus-built planning process that allows for flexibility and leads to well organized implementation plans.
- Organizing and Time and Priority Management – The initiative to evaluate multiple projects with complex processes, effectively identify and communicate a logical succession of steps, and assign reasonable and achievable timelines to ensure an accurate and timely deliverable.
Qualified applicants should have a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree preferred, or equivalent professional experience in business, arts, or nonprofit administration. A minimum of seven to 10 years of demonstrated success in administrative leadership in the arts, music, or creative industries is required. The successful candidate must have a passion for music and the ability to articulate the importance of music, education, and culture. Leading candidates will also have experience in finance, development, relationship management, and strategic planning. The selected candidate will demonstrate exceptional written and spoken communication skills.
Compensation and Benefits
SCMS offers a competitive salary in the range of $135,000 to $155,000 and a benefits package that includes paid time off; maternity/paternity leave; extended medical leave; medical, dental, and vision plans; Section 125 Cafeteria Plan; and SEP IRA retirement plan with employer contribution.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Shawn D. Ingram, Senior Advisor
8581 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA 90069-4120
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 220
Seattle Chamber Music Society values diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace and will honor the candidate’s experiences, perspectives, and unique identity. Together, SCMS will strive to create and maintain a safe and respectful environment for work and the delivery of programs to its community that is inclusive, equitable, and welcoming.
Click here for the downloadable PDF.