Founded in 1965 by Norman Scribner, Choral Arts has a rich history of bringing the power of the human voice to audiences large and small. Advancing the story of choral music by collaborating with a myriad of musicians, composers, and ensembles, Choral Arts weaves 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 addition, the organization includes a smaller Chamber Singers ensemble and a Youth Choir. Embracing a mission to reawaken human capacity for awe through the power of choral music, Choral Arts is a leader in the choral field and regarded as one of the foremost symphonic choruses in the United States. Not even the pandemic could silence the voices of these dedicated musicians. On July 15, 2020, Choral Arts broadcast its first virtual event, engaging audiences nationally and internationally.
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 and the Kennedy Center Honors. With strong regional ties andworldwide 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. In addition to performances at The Kennedy Center and in intimate venues, 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 consistently demonstrates commitment to community outreach and education. Ever-present and active in the community, outreach includes an annual choral tribute concert and humanitarian awards program dedicated to the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All this and more are indicative of Choral Arts’ commitment to unite people and community through voice and positive presence. In 2020, Choral Arts recognized the importance of uplifting equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility and issued a Statement on Racial Justice.
Choral Arts is currently governed by a 16-member volunteer board of directors and has seven full-time professional employees. For the period ending August 2019, Choral Arts had revenue of nearly $1.9 million and $5.9 million in net assets. Choral Arts stands out as a leader among its peers not only for its artistic excellence, but its administrative leadership, managing a budget among the top five American choruses with an endowment more than twice the size of the annual budget.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, and co-leading the organization with the Executive Director, the Artistic Director will serve as the principal conductor for Choral Arts. This individual will determine and execute a strategic artistic vision that will guide, advise, and mobilize the organization as it creates choral experiences that move people to find shared purpose, discover shared passion, and connect with the music within themselves. As the primary external ambassador for Choral Arts both on and off the podium, the Artistic Director will inspire singers to new heights of musical excellence, energize donors to invest in the chorus, and engage new audiences, organizational partnerships, and board members. The Artistic Director will establish and build partnerships with arts organizations and actively participate in fundraising activities. 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 joyful 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. The Artistic Director will also maintain organizational focus on the value of recruitment and expansion of Choral Arts.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Leadership and Administration
- Establish and advance an artistic vision for Choral Arts that inspires the chorus, board, staff, volunteers, and audiences; welcomes new musical ideas; invites new audiences; 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 Chamber Singers.
- Develop repertoire for each season, providing exceptional musical leadership for the chorus by incorporating appropriate vocal pedagogy.
- Recruit, audition, and prepare singers and instrumentalists for symphonic choral performance.
- Co-lead the organization with the Executive Director by demonstrating a commitment to collaboration, clear communication, planning transparency, and fiscal accountability while centering equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in artistic and management decision making.
- Cultivate partnerships with other performing arts organizations 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 meaningful dialogue to build and sustain the organization’s inclusive and vibrant culture.
- Commission innovative new choral works and arrangements that represent diverse artistic voices and showcase Choral Arts’ vocal excellence.
- 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, playing an active role in the development of fundraising messaging and the cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation of individual and corporate gifts, as well as government and private foundation grants, as appropriate.
- 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.
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.
- Embrace and 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 to positively impact the community. A dynamic, visionary leader, the Artistic Director will honor the role of traditional classical music, advocate for new music, and inspire innovation in programming, including social themes and cultural diversity. This individual will have a passion for choral music, bringing 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 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, including building community partnerships and engagement.
Other key competencies include the following:
- 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 awareness of 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 skill 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. 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. Evidence of demonstrable and specific action taken in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in a similar environment is critical. The ideal candidate will be passionate about music and able to articulate a vision that advances music’s power to connect people. Choral Arts’ preferred candidate will have full-time residence 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 175,000 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/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Calida Jones, Vice President
1030 15th Street NW, Suite 283
Washington, DC 20005-1500
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 229
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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