Executive Director – Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Executive Director – Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Posted byWisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Posted date: Mar-14-13
Location: Madison


Post Details
Job Title Executive Director – Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Posted By Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Job Function Executive Leadership
Salary Range Based on experience
Start Date June 2013
Hourly Wage Range Not Applicable
City Madison
State WI
Deadline Jun-13-13
Job Categories
Location Location ->Wisconsin
Type of Work Type of Work ->Executive / Senior Management
Job Type Job Type -> Full-time


The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (WCO) is a vibrant professional orchestra dedicated to connecting its audiences to the power of music.  What began as a small symphony on the shores of Lake Mendota has evolved into a year round performing arts group led for the past twelve years by a charismatic and creative maestro, Andrew Sewell. The WCO performs approximately 25 concerts per year, including Concerts on the Square, Masterworks, Holiday Pops, Handel’s Messiah, Youth Concerts, and other performances across the state. With a core orchestra of 34 musicians and a permanent home in Overture Center for the Arts magnificent Capitol Theater, WCO is one of the finest chamber orchestras in the country.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Mission:
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s mission is to provide programs of the highest artistic quality for its audiences.  WCO performances should entertain, inform and enrich the quality of life in diverse local and regional audiences.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Goals:
In executing its mission, the WCO is committed to further developing a sustainable fiscal business model which will allow for a stable, balanced budget and the ability to reserve funds and grow an endowment to support the following goals:

  • Increasing the awareness of, and support for, music written for chamber orchestra
  • Expanding the Masterworks series of classical performances
  • Preserving and enhancing Concerts on the Square
  • Developing music appreciation at an early age
  • Enhancing community celebrations and holidays with orchestra performances
  • Providing outreach programs to serve more constituents and communities
  • Exploring opportunities to collaborate with other artists and organizations


The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1960 by Gordon B. Wright as the Madison Summer Symphony Orchestra. After an initial summer concert series at the Eastside Businessmen’s Association, the Orchestra established a summer series at Madison’s Edgewood College, where it remained for 10 years. The repertoire performed by this summer orchestra consisted of great orchestral music from all ages, including composer residencies or revivals of lesser-known works by composers from other eras. Generally, the orchestra performed a four-concert series on Sunday evenings in July.

In 1969, Gordon Wright was engaged by the University of Alaska, and David Crosby, then an apprentice of Maestro Otto-Werner Mueller, was engaged as music director and conductor. During these initial years, the Madison Summer Symphony played occasionally outside of Madison. In 1974, it began to play during other seasons of the year and changed its name to Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, to reflect the expanding geographic range of its performances. In 1980, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra established a full subscription season of indoor concerts featuring guest artists and ensembles. Its size grew from 20 to 30 musicians.

In the winter of 1983, local businesswoman Pleasant Rowland saw an opportunity to increase accessibility to the arts and to create a sense of community, while utilizing the beautiful Capitol lawn as a gathering place. After receiving start-up funds from The Evjue Foundation and The Norman Bassett Foundation, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra launched its first season of Concerts on the Square in the summer of 1984. Known alternately as “The Biggest Picnic of Summer,” the Concerts on the Square series annually draws 120,000 people to the State Capitol Concourse for a summer of “donation-supported” music, picnicking and community gathering.


Reporting to the Board of Directors, The Executive Director is responsible for the leadership necessary for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to achieve its mission. With a focus on providing programs of the highest artistic quality for its audiences, and by implementing the strategic goals of the organization, the ED will provide guidance and leadership to partnership, fund, and community development initiatives. This position has three (3) direct reports including the Director of Marketing, Director of Development, and Operations Manager.


  • Promote the fulfillment of the WCO’s vision, mission and goals through the development, implementation and execution of the organization’s mission.
  • Oversee fund development planning and implementation, including identifying resource requirements, researching funding sources and establishing strategies to identify and develop relationships with individual, corporate and/or foundation donors/funders.
  • As the chief spokesperson, function as a collaborative, community leader who focuses on raising awareness of the organization and building enduring partnerships.
  • Successfully cultivate and maintain relationships with external partners of the WCO, specifically donors, collaborative partners in the performing arts, concert attendees, and the community at large.
  • Guide, support and serve the Music Director and Board of Directors in establishing goals and developing policies, procedures, budgets, and programs that fulfill the mission of organization.
  • Manage labor negotiations with musicians, particularly concerning contract renewals.
  • Manage in consultation with the Music Director the scheduling and contract negotiations of guest artists
  • Manage the fiscal vitality of the WCO – operational and capital expenditure budgets, cost control, risk management, financial reporting and financial planning.
  • Successfully maintain good relationships and open communication between the Board, staff, musicians and the Music Director.
  • Collaborate with and support the Board to ensure that board members are well informed and positioned to provide the support and commitment needed for the WCO to thrive.
  • Oversee and direct the marketing and public relations efforts of the organization.

Mandatory Job Qualifications


  • Profound enthusiasm and passion for the mission of the WCO with the ability to effectively promote the organization’s value across a variety of key stakeholder groups including staff, business and philanthropic communities, community leaders, general public and media.
  • Success sustaining and building creative and mutually beneficial relationships within the corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors.
  • Experience managing labor relations in the performing arts a plus.
  • Substantive experience in development, donor relations, advancement and philanthropy, either as a volunteer or professional. 
  • Consultative, collaborative and strategic approach to fund development and donor relations with the vision, passion and dedication to lead the WCO into the future. 
  • An open, approachable personality that will lead the organization with positive enthusiasm.
  • Willingness to spend considerable time and effort in participation in community-wide events and projects.
  • Possess a passion for the performing arts/music.
  • Ability to foster a healthy organizational culture, to encourage teamwork and collaboration; strong interpersonal skills that include the ability to inspire and motivate; and effective at conflict management.
  • Financial and operational acumen; direct experience with budget development/management and P&L oversight; and ability to manage budgets of a non-profit arts institution.
  • A solid understanding of the Madison community and a feel for Midwestern culture.
  • Ambassadorial skills to connect with all kinds of people representing various interests and concerns.
  • Exceptional presentation and communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Ability to use marketing and public relations tools to increase ticket sales, performance opportunities and attendance, and overall revenue.
  • Strong leadership skills with the ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Previous experience in the performing arts field desired, but not required.

Desired Qualifications

The position is located in Madison, Wisconsin.  Madison anchors a thriving economic region of over 500,000 which includes the state capital, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a world-class research university, and growing technology and research companies.

Madison is a rare combination of thriving businesses, progressive government, rich culture and advanced education – all in a setting of rare natural beauty. Surrounded by five lakes, laced with bike trails, and enlivened with numerous parks and green spaces, the area offers countless opportunities to enjoy a prosperous career, operate a successful business, and enjoy your favorite pastimes. Boating and water sports on our lakes; hiking, biking, and skiing on our trails; and camping in our many state parks around the city and the region offers a range of recreational opportunities in a breathtaking natural environment. Combine these factors with clean air, abundant green space, superior educational and healthcare facilities, a low unemployment rate, great communities and a sense of personal security, and you have Madison – a great place to live and work.

Madison, Wisconsin consistently earns top results in nationwide quality-of-life rankings, articles and surveys. For more information, please visit:


How to Apply

This job is open for online applications.


Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra has retained QTI PROFESSIONAL STAFFING, INC. to conduct the search for its new Executive Director.  QTI Professional Staffing is a specialized recruiting division of The QTI Group, a comprehensive human resources advisory services firm founded in 1957.  QTI is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin and has fourteen branch offices.

Qualified individuals interested in being considered for the position are invited to apply with a cover letter with salary expectations and a resume to:www.tinyurl.com/Apply-WCO

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