Founded in 1965 by Norman Scribner, Choral Arts is regarded as one of the foremost symphonic choruses in the United States. With a mission to reawaken the human capacity for awe through the power of choral music, the organization has a rich history of bringing the power of the human voice to audiences large and small. Choral Arts collaborates with a myriad of musicians, composers, and ensembles, weaving its shared passion, world-class repertoire, and radiant voices into a sound that resonates with and changes people. The organization’s principal ensemble is the 130-voice Symphonic Chorus. In recent years, the organization has also included a smaller chamber choir and a youth choir. All members of these ensembles are auditioned volunteers.
Based in Washington, DC, Choral Arts is a Grammy award-winning organization that performs regularly with the National Symphony Orchestra, including for the televised broadcast of A Capitol Fourth each year. With strong regional ties and worldwide recognition, invitations to perform are frequent, as indicated by performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Mariinsky Orchestra. Choral Arts has toured Italy, Russia, France, England, Brazil, Argentina, and China, as well as domestically.
The proud recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education and two Mayor’s Arts Awards for Excellence in Artistic Discipline, Choral Arts demonstrates commitment to community outreach and education. Outreach includes an annual choral tribute concert and humanitarian awards program dedicated to the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Choral Arts has continued to build on its 2020 Statement on Racial Justice, including through the East Coast premiere of Damien Geter’s An African-American Requiem. All this and more are indicative of Choral Arts’ commitment to unite people and community through voice and positive presence.
Choral Arts is currently governed by a 13-member volunteer board of directors under the leadership of Matthew Garber and has seven full-time professional employees. For the fiscal year ending August 31, 2022, Choral Arts had revenue of $2.2 million of which $1.2 million was contributed revenue; total expenses of $2.2 million; and $6 million in net assets. Choral Arts maintains financial stability with an endowment more than twice the size of the annual budget, which is among the top five largest budgets for American choruses.
Reporting to the Board of Directors and co-leading the organization with the Executive Director, the Artistic Director will serve as artistic leader and the principal conductor of Choral Arts. This individual will determine and execute a strategic artistic vision that will guide, advise, and mobilize the organization. As the primary ambassador for Choral Arts both on and off the podium, the Artistic Director will inspire singers to new heights of musical innovation and excellence, energize donors to invest in the chorus, and engage new and existing audiences, organizational partnerships, and board members. This individual will passionately articulate both the benefits and needs of the organization, engaging in candid conversations with audiences, chorus members, and stakeholders. The Artistic Director will amplify the talents of others and demonstrate passion for the art form through the inspirational presentation of music in all its forms. This individual will also drive audience expansion, building a deep understanding of the region in order to maximize Choral Arts’ impact on the broader community.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Leadership and Administration
- Establish and advance an artistic vision for Choral Arts that inspires the chorus, board, staff, and audiences; reinvigorates relationships with existing audiences, donors, and partners; invites new audiences; welcomes new musical ideas; advances the organization’s strategic goals while upholding its commitment to the greatest traditions of choral repertoire; and promotes the organization’s leadership in musical excellence.
- Serve as the principal conductor of rehearsals and performances of the Choral Arts Symphonic Chorus and additional performance opportunities.
- Develop appropriate repertoire for a multi-season programming arc that showcases Choral Arts’ vocal excellence and fits the organization’s historic strengths, evolving artistic vision.
- Commission innovative programming, new choral works, arrangements, and repertoire that represents diverse and underrepresented artistic voices and showcase Choral Arts’ vocal excellence.
- Recruit, audition, and prepare singers for performances incorporating appropriate vocal pedagogy and rehearsal technique to nurture choral excellence.
- Co-lead the organization with the Executive Director by demonstrating a commitment to collaboration, clear communication, planning transparency, and fiscal accountability while embracing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in artistic and management decision making.
- Cultivate partnerships with other performing arts organizations and the US diplomatic corps nationally and globally to advance the art of choral singing and Choral Arts’ mission.
- Ensure Choral Arts’ committed musicians enjoy a welcoming, respectful, and artistically challenging musical experience and that all voices are engaged in building and sustaining the organization’s inclusive and vibrant community.
- Identify, plan, and implement touring and recording opportunities in coordination with the Executive Director that expand the scope and scale of Choral Arts’ artistic reputation.
- Appreciate and understand the human voice as a unique instrument, demonstrate a commitment to support and nurture singers in their artistic growth, and retain professional caliber volunteers year to year.
- Direct and oversee the work of the artistic staff, including securing agreements with talented soloists, musicians, composers, arrangers, and orchestrators that support Choral Arts’ artistic goal.
- Partner with volunteer and paid production managers and other production staff, as needed, to ensure quality performance and outreach activities.
Fundraising and Development
- Collaborate with executive leadership and board of directors to leverage partnerships and funding relationships that support the artistic, educational, and social justice goals of Choral Arts.
- Initiate and build strong relationships with key supporters and with the Executive Director and development team and play an active role in crafting fundraising messaging and the cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation of individual and corporate gifts, as well as government and private foundation grants, as appropriate.
- Participate in key fundraising events including the annual Choral Arts Gala.
- Support the expansion and diversification of the board of directors and build collaborative relationships with members that support their board ambassadorial and fundraising roles and deepen their engagement with Choral Arts.
- Participate in the creation of the annual operating budget and expense forecasting with the Executive Director, reporting to the board. Participate in development of multi-year financial planning.
Community Outreach and Education
- Serve as the principal public voice of Choral Arts, uplifting the organization’s mission, artistic vision, educational programming, and organizational values across all communication platforms, including performances, conferences, public events, and traditional and social media.
- Support and contribute to the establishment and expansion of Choral Arts’ educational strategy to increase the access and impact of choral music among the next generation and community at large.
- Center diversity and inclusion as a critical element of community engagement, including singer recruitment, audience development, staff retention, board engagement, and program expansion.
- Enhance and build partnerships within the community that increase awareness of and appreciation for the art of choral music and drive acquisition of new audience members.
Traits and Characteristics
The Artistic Director will have a deep understanding of the power of choral music and a vision for leveraging this power. A dynamic, visionary leader, the Artistic Director will bring their own musical excellence to build on Choral Arts’ strong foundation and to advance the chorus to even higher levels of vocal performance. The Artistic Director will possess the technical skills, experience, and expertise to prepare the chorus for all musical performances, including score study, rehearsal planning and communication, vocal pedagogy, setting clear expectations for choristers’ outside preparation, conducting technique, refining the ensemble sound, and time management of individual rehearsals and the concert cycle. The Artistic Director will possess effective people skills and the ability to nurture new and existing relationships with the chorus, audience members, donors, and the community. A natural coach, mentor, facilitator, consensus builder, and motivational leader, the Artistic Director will be a model of integrity and fairness, earning the respect of others. An experienced team player and strategic thinker for whom the ownership of ideas is less important than the result of the collaborative effort, the Artistic Director will be an accessible, open, confident, and communicative professional who enjoys exploring ideas and building community partnerships and engagement.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Diplomacy – The capacity to inspire others to unify around an outcome or goal and navigate sensitive and difficult issues with grace and respect.
- Personal Accountability and Teamwork – The sensitivity to the impact of personal actions and decisions and the aptitude to collaborate with others to achieve objectives and outcomes.
- Time and Priority Management and Resiliency – The ability to identify and establish timeframes and priorities and to recover quickly from setbacks while still achieving goals.
- Audience Focus and Interpersonal Skills – The capability to anticipate needs, wants, and expectations while effectively building rapport and relating well to a variety of people.
Proven experience in artistic leadership and a demonstrated capacity to emphasize vocal technique and conduct excellent choral and orchestral performances are critical in this role. Academic achievement is desirable but Choral Arts values experience over education. They will have experience conducting and rehearsing a wide variety of repertoire, including choral-orchestral masterworks. They will have experience and demonstrated ability to effectively prepare, rehearse, and conduct instrumentalists, including full orchestras. Successful candidates will possess exceptional communication skills. The ability to represent the organization in public speaking engagements both on and off the podium, at media events, and in public presentations is essential. A track record of fundraising success or significant relationship management is vital to success in this role as is evidence of demonstrable and specific action taken in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in a similar environment. The ideal candidate will be able to articulate a vision that advances music’s power to connect people. Choral Arts’ preferred candidate will be full-time and based in Washington, DC, but the organization is willing to consider alternative arrangements for extraordinary candidates.
Compensation and Benefits
Choral Arts offers a competitive base salary range between $140,000 and $200,000 and a benefits package that includes health insurance with prescription drug, dental, and vision plans (substantially underwritten by Choral Arts); voluntary retirement plan with employer match; vacation, sick, and personal leave; and short-term and long-term disability and life insurance.
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/opensearches. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Shawn D. Ingram, Vice President
8581 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA 90069-4120
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 220
Choral singing is about community. It brings people together to learn, experience, and celebrate the familiar and the new. Choral Arts creates and maintains such a community where every member feels safe, respected, and supported without regard to race, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. Choral Arts is an equal opportunity employer.
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