Music Director Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Music Director 
Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra



  • A program of the Education Department of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the RPYO was established in 1970.
  • It includes about 100 advanced musicians in grades eight through twelve from a six-county region around Rochester, New York and is widely regarded as the premier youth music ensemble in the region. 
  • A sizable percentage of its alumni pursue careers in music and music education, including positions in major American symphony orchestras and other professional ensembles.
  • The RPYO has had three music directors since its founding, including David Harman, who retires as music director at the close of the 2013-2014 season, following a 21-year tenure in this capacity. 
  • A hallmark of the RPYO program is its close relationship with its parent orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, and with musicians of the RPO, several of whom serve as mentors to the RPYO in roles as sectional coaches, adjudicators and advisors,
  • The annual March Side-by-Side Concert with the RPO has been a central and continuous part of the RPYO’s program since 1970.
  • The administrator of the youth orchestra, the RPYO Manager, is on the staff of the RPO.

RPYO Musical Season
The RPYO season runs from early September through May each year. The season comprises:

  • Weekly Sunday afternoon rehearsals from 2:00 to 5:00 pm
  • Occasional rehearsals scheduled at other times
  • Formal concerts in November, March, and May
  • Spring entry auditions and fall seating auditions
  • An annual fall weekend retreat
  • Concerto competitions in December and February
  • Periodic tours and run-out or community performances


The RPYO Music Director is responsible for the artistic operation and development of the youth orchestra and reports to the Chair of the RPYO Board of Directors. He or she serves as its conductor and has authority over all artistic aspects of the RPYO program as determined by the RPYO Board of Directors. These include: repertory selection, auditions, placement decisions, rehearsals, competitions, and performances, including conducting the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the annual Side-by-Side concert. The Music Director will work in close collaboration with the RPYO Manager in planning and implementing RPYO activities and with the Board of Directors in achieving the broader goals of the RPYO. 


The RPYO Music Director must

  • Be inspirational, enthusiastic, and able to motivate and mentor students
  • Be committed to the broad goals of music education: developing advanced musical skills as well as habits of collaboration, discipline, mutual respect, careful listening, and creative problem solving
  • Be supportive of school music education programs
  • Be respectful of, and sensitive to, students’ feelings and responsive to their level of musical experience      
  • Be able to communicate positively with students on and off the podium
  • Have a working knowledge of all orchestral instruments and techniques
  • Have in-depth knowledge of symphonic literature and of the appropriate repertory for upper-level youth orchestras     
  • Be able to work collaboratively
  • Be able to make a commitment to the RPYO season schedule
  • Be able to effectively rehearse with and conduct the professional musicians of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the Side-by-Side Concerts
  • Be able to represent and promote the RPYO in the community        


  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting or Performance or equivalent in musical experience
  • 5+ years experience conducting professional ensembles or advanced community, university or youth orchestras
  • Experience working with motivated young people
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to interact effectively with students, parents, staff, and musical colleagues


  • Plan the concert season repertory with review from the RPYO Board of Directors and the RPO Mentors
  • Conduct all rehearsals, concerts, and special musical events
  • Fully participate in the annual Fall weekend Retreat, conducting the full orchestra rehearsals, and overseeing the sectional rehearsals
  • Collaborate with the RPYO Manager and others in: planning the season schedule, auditions, music acquisitions and preparation, rehearsal and concert requirements.
  • Attend Concerto Competitions and provide appropriate input
  • Work with the Manager in planning tours and trips and participate fully in these
  • Attend regularly scheduled Board meetings and occasional parent meetings when appropriate
  • Exercise leadership in developing the total artistic quality of the orchestra and work with the Board in developing long-range artistic plans
  • Serve as the public face of the RPYO in media and public appearances
  • Work with the RPYO  Board to increase public awareness and support of the orchestra through public relations and fundraising efforts
  • Engage in building mutually supportive relationships with school music programs and other community programs and with private instrumental teachers

Position tenure: 
A three-year contract with the option of early notification for either party 

Compensation: Up to $25,000

For consideration: Applicants may send cover letter and resume to:

    David Ackroyd, RPYO Board Chair
    Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
    108 East Avenue
    Rochester, NY 14604

Application deadline: DECEMBER 15, 2013

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