Creative Sonoma

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra Conductor

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JOB OPPORTUNITY: Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra Conductor


Date: Begins September 2023
Salary: $6,500 annually; classified as independent contractor

The conductor is responsible for the overall artistic direction and music education development of the Aspirante Youth Orchestra and its members according to the guidelines established by the Director of Education and/or the Education Committee. This includes, but is not limited to, evaluating auditions, selection of players and repertoire, and leading rehearsals and performances. The conductor will also nurture and promote the well-being and image of the Orchestra and of the other youth ensembles which fall under the auspices of the Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS).

Orchestra Leadership
 Conduct the Orchestra in weekly rehearsals from September to May in preparation for concerts and any additional special events, such as tours or run-out concerts. The rehearsals are to be a music education activity providing the members with training in all aspects of musical knowledge and orchestral techniques, as well as preparation for performances. The annual fee includes extra rehearsals, coaching sessions or warm-ups deemed necessary by the conductor in preparation of each concert.
 Rehearsals are Saturday mornings, 11 am – 1 pm, at Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa. Performances are usually held in the Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School, Santa Rosa.
 Reinforce orchestra members’ understanding of concert etiquette and standard performance practices. Maintain high standards of personal musicianship, as well as high standards for the orchestra membership. Communicate responsibility and expectations to all students and parents, and be available to converse with them during breaks, as well as before and after rehearsals.
 Attend all auditions, the majority of which are on weekends in August, with additional dates in September, January and February as needed. In collaboration with the other SRS youth ensemble conductors and directors and the SRS Education staff, establish the audition rubrics and criteria for acceptance, select and approve
players, select principal players and determine placement within each section. Work with conductors of the other youth ensembles, when appropriate, in selecting and placing students.
 Select repertoire appropriate to the performance level of the orchestra’s membership that, a) ensures the effective use of all orchestra members, b) is suitable to the instrumentation available in the orchestra, c) provides an enjoyable and rewarding experience for the students in terms of improving their performance skills, musicianship and growth, d) has the appropriate bowings for string players prior to the first rehearsal. The conductor must give the SRS Education staff a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice of selected repertoire to prepare and process music before the first rehearsal. All repertoire must be finalized at least 6 weeks prior to the performance with program order, biography and any other information needed for the program book due 3 weeks prior.
 Develop a realistic plan for effective and efficient rehearsals and concerts. Be able to assess and interpret the capabilities of individual members and the orchestra as a whole. Implement innovative artistic programs for youth while remaining mindful that the primary focus of the orchestra is to provide an educational experience for the musicians.
 Coordinate with the Education staff and/or the SRS Music Librarian to purchase or rent scores. Ensure that all bowings and markings are clear and consistent.
 Evaluate the performances of the Orchestra at the conclusion of the season and provide the Director of Education with a report outlining overall accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses. In addition, following the conclusion of the season, the Director of Education will provide feedback on the season, including input from orchestra members, parents, education staff and coaches.
Concerts, Planning and Collaboration
 Collaborate with the Director of Education in developing long-range artistic and educational goals for the Orchestra. Collaborate with the Director of Education March-August to plan the upcoming concert season, which will include the following concerts: 2 classical concerts (one each in the Fall and Spring), and 1-3 additional performances (in-school, holiday, “preview” or similar), and one Free Concerts For Youth in May, at the Green Music Center. In alternate years, there is an All-SRSYE Showcase Concert, also at the Green Music Center. In addition, Aspirante Youth Orchestra goes on a “mini-tour” to collaborate with another similar level youth orchestra, or to perform in a remote area of Sonoma County. Members of Aspirante Youth Orchestra may also be asked to perform as chamber ensembles or soloists in other events, for which the Conductor’s presence may be required. The Director of Education may add performances if special opportunities become available and the event fits into the existing calendar without overwhelming the students’ work load.
 Consult with the Director of Education and the other conductor/directors of the SRS youth ensembles regarding artistic decisions that may impact these other youth ensembles, the performance schedule for all orchestras, and attendance policies and other enrollment requirements.
 Collaborate with the Education staff on developing and implementing an active recruitment program for the Youth Ensembles to include students from Sonoma County as well as the surrounding counties.
 Notify the Director of Education at least one month in advance of a planned missed rehearsal. Four absences are allowed; beyond four, the cost to pay a substitute will be deducted from the conductor’s pay. The substitute must be approved by the Director of Education.
 Any fundraising or special event planning with orchestra members or parents, or guest artist engagements beyond what is budgeted, must be approved by the Director of Education.
 Meet monthly with the Director of Education during the concert season and weekly with the Youth Ensembles Manager to ensure all logistical and strategic communications are executed in a timely and efficient manner.
 Speak directly to the Director of Education if you have any questions or concerns about administrative policies.
Community Relations
 Serve as the Orchestra’s artistic liaison with community music educators. Work to continue developing collaborative working relationships with music instructors and professional musicians. On site visitations to schools and music departments may be scheduled.
 Help develop a positive overall public image of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles in the community and beyond. Assist in the general promotion of the Orchestra by being available for public appearances.
 Develop successful working relationships with volunteers, parents, Symphony staff and board members, and SR Symphony League members on special events designed to benefit the Orchestra.
 Attend Education Committee meetings (and other committee meetings of the Santa Rosa Symphony) as needed at the request of the Director of Education, Music Director, President/CEO and/or respective chairpersons (may provide a written report).

Minimum Bachelor’s degree in music or music education plus one year experience as a youth ensemble conductor.

Send a cover letter, resume and references to Wendy Cilman, Director of Education, Deadline is August 1, 2023.