MUSIC DIRECTOR VICTORIA SYMPHONY VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Call for Applications
The Victoria Symphony invites applications for the position of Music Director. Highly qualified
applicants should submit a resume and a covering letter describing their interest in and qualifications
for the position, including their personal artistic vision for the Victoria Symphony. Copies of or links to
video and/or audio recordings of the applicants conducting are highly desirable, if available, with
DVDs being strongly preferred. Nominations from third parties are also welcome, provided that they
include all of the above materials.
Applications should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Items such as
recordings, publications, etc. can be mailed to MD Search, Victoria Symphony, 620 View Street – suite
610, Victoria BC V8W 1J6, Canada. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday April 15, 2014.
Descriptions of the position, the orchestra, the community, and the qualities being sought in the
successful candidate may be found on-line at http://www.victoriasymphony.ca/mdsearch.
The Victoria Symphony thanks all applicants for their interest. However, we are able to respond only to
those with whom we wish to enter into further discussions. All candidates who possess appropriate
backgrounds and experience will be given serious consideration. When choosing among candidates of
equivalent qualifications, priority will be given to those who are Canadian citizens or landed
The Music Director of the Victoria Symphony personally conducts the orchestra’s rehearsals and
concerts for a significant portion of each season, and devotes additional time to administrative
responsibilities and public appearances.
The Music Director is responsible for the orchestra’s artistic decisions, including programming of
regular and special concerts and series; invitations to soloists and guest conductors; engagement of
orchestra members; commissions, tours, recordings, educational programs and other projects. These
decisions are made in consultation with the Executive Director, senior staff, the Board of Directors and
representatives of the orchestra.
In addition to being the artistic leader of the organization, the Music Director is also its principal public
face. In that capacity, the Music Director participates actively, frequently and directly in community
engagement and outreach initiatives, the cultivation and stewardship of subscribers and supporters,
media and public appearances, and other activities designed to raise the profile of the orchestra, expand
its audience, and ensure its ongoing sustainability.
The Music Director and Executive Director of the Victoria Symphony work as a team to lead the
organization; each reports directly to the Board of Directors. 2
The Victoria Symphony is Vancouver Island’s largest and most active performing arts organization. Its
mission is “to enrich lives through the shared experience of extraordinary music.” In the 2015-2016
season, the orchestra will celebrate its 75th
The annual budget of the Victoria Symphony is approximately CAD $5 million. The professional
ensemble of 34 full-contract and 11 part-contract musicians is supplemented with additional players as
required; in the current contract, the core is engaged for a minimum of 37 weeks. The Symphony gives
over 100 performances each year, including over 60 regular-season concerts (including both classics
and pops), annual summer and new music festivals, educational and community appearances. The
Symphony also serves as the orchestra for Pacific Opera Victoria, and regularly for Dance Victoria and
Ballet Victoria. Some 125,000 people hear the Victoria Symphony every year.
The orchestra’s educational programs reach approximately 12,000 children annually. Innovative,
thematic, cross-disciplinary collaborations with other artistic and community organizations regularly
push the boundaries of concert presentation. Over the past decade, the Victoria Symphony has
commissioned and premiered 38 new works.
The orchestra’s regular home is the century-old Royal Theatre in the heart of downtown Victoria, with
some performances occurring at the Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria. It also
performs regularly elsewhere on Vancouver Island. Each summer, a popular series of outdoor concerts
is presented at the iconic Butchart Gardens. Tens of thousands of residents and visitors flock to the
city’s Inner Harbour on BC Day weekend every August for the marquee event of the summer: the
unique Victoria Symphony Splash concert, with the orchestra performing on a barge.
The organization has visionary plans for the future, which are designed to build on the orchestra’s
success to date by expanding its reach and impact in all segments of the community, enhancing
educational, touring and recording activities and, ultimately, undertaking capital investments.
The City of Victoria and twelve other municipalities in Greater Victoria comprise the Capital Regional
District, with a population of 360,000, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in Canada’s
most westerly province of British Columbia.
The city’s Pacific Coast location ensures a mild climate year-round. Its status as a provincial capital
and home of two major universities contributes to a rich and attractive combination of professional,
cultural and recreational opportunities. With its stimulating cultural life, Greater Victoria is a
retirement destination of choice for affluent and well educated Canadians. In recent years, it has
evolved a thriving high-tech sector, currently valued at $3 Billion in annual economic impact.
Tourism is a major economic factor: every year, the city attracts approximately ten times its regional
population in visitors; and Victoria is home base for the Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
The Greater Victoria Capital Region encompasses the traditional territories of nine Coast Salish First
The Victoria Symphony hopes to have a new Music Director in place for the 2017-2018 season. By that
time, it will have enjoyed remarkably strong, stable artistic leadership for fourteen years. During this
period, the orchestra has matured substantially; there is a general consensus that it currently performs
well beyond reasonable expectations for orchestras of comparable size and circumstances. We now
seek a successor as leader who is capable of maintaining and building on those accomplishments.
Among the most important qualities and accomplishments we seek in a Music Director are the
Exceptional musical abilities. The successful candidate for Music Director of the Victoria Symphony
will be, above all else, an exceptional musician, with a proven track record and qualifications in
orchestral leadership: an inspiring maestro or maestra and an artistic visionary on and off the podium.
Among the required skills will be the deepest musicianship, the ability to lead compelling
interpretations in varied musical styles, excellent conducting technique, comprehensive knowledge of
the orchestra, its instruments and repertoire, and an understanding of acoustical realities.
Orchestra building. The new Music Director will be an orchestra builder, possessing demonstrable
ability to work collaboratively as a team player with musicians to ensure that the Victoria Symphony
continues to grow artistically, in both quality and range: tackling challenging works; refining its
approach to the core repertoire; developing even greater stylistic flexibility and nuance; continuing to
perfect both the skills of individual players and their ability to work together as a unified musical
ensemble. It is vital that the Music Director understand the workings of an orchestra under a weekly
collective bargaining agreement; that s/he bring fairness and sensitivity to the fore in all dealings with
the musicians; and that s/he builds an environment conducive to a satisfying professional experience
and performances of the highest quality.
Audience building. The Music Director will be a passionate, compelling musical communicator and
interpreter – both in performance and verbally. S/he will speak regularly to the audience from the stage
in an engaging and inviting way that enhances the concert-going experience for the casual listener as
well as the knowledgeable aficionado; will create and participate in other forms of engagement; and
will work to broaden and deepen the community’s relationship with great music and the Symphony.
Imaginative programming. As the primary person responsible for program and season planning, the
successful candidate will have deep knowledge of artists and repertoire, and broad contacts in the
Canadian and international classical music world, as well as the ability to balance risk-taking, audience
tastes and box office realities. A strong commitment to Canadian composers and performers is
New music and new projects. The Music Director will lead the orchestra in contributing to the art
form, through innovation in repertoire (commissions and premieres) and in presentation (alternative
concert formats, special series, etc.). S/he will conceive and carry out major new artistic projects, such
as festivals, and help generate a higher regional, national and international profile for the orchestra
through touring, recording, and the use of digital and social media.
Collaboration for organizational sustainability and growth. The Music Director will work closely
with the Executive Director, the Board and the staff in creating and refining the Victoria Symphony’s
business model. S/he will assume a creative leadership role within the organization, understanding the
balance between artistic ambition and the limits of financial and human resources. S/he will be an
active part of the Symphony’s fundraising activities, using his/her position to cultivate donors in 4
collaboration with the Board and staff. S/he will work closely with the Executive Director to build and
manage appropriate annual budgets.
Community relationships. The new Music Director will play a key role in enhancing community
pride in, and connection with, the Victoria Symphony. This means working closely with staff and
volunteers to develop a larger and more committed core audience, representative of the community as a
whole, and undertaking new initiatives to connect with young people and families. The Music Director
will be a powerful and effective ambassador for the orchestra, capable of telling its story and
generating support. S/he will be willing and able to participate actively in the organization’s
communications, marketing and fund-raising activities and possess strong interpersonal skills in such
areas as public speaking, the use of conventional and new media, and face-to-face contact with
individuals and groups.
Commitment to the community. The successful candidate will demonstrate a genuine long-term
commitment to this orchestra and Greater Victoria. S/he will maintain an ongoing presence in Victoria,
spending a significant amount of the year in residence, building a prominent public profile, and
participating in musical and other aspects of community life; playing a central role in Victoria’s
cultural and civic scene.
A bachelor’s degree in music is expected, and appropriate experience as a conductor. Remuneration
will be commensurate with education and experience.
Victoria Symphony Society
610-620 View Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1J6, Canada