Music Director – Hawaii Youth Symphony Honolulu, Hawaii


Hawaii Youth Symphony (HYS) is an independent, 501c3 non-profit serving Hawaii’s youth through music education. Our mission is to advance the critical and positive links between music study, academic achievement, and social emotional development with programs that provide youth with music education, performance opportunities, and service learning.

Hawaii Youth Symphony has been in continuous operation since 1964—53 years—and is the only statewide instrumental music program of its kind in Hawaii. Over 600 students, ages 7-18, enroll in our 8 school year programs (3 symphony orchestras, 4 string orchestras, 1 community music program) and 2 summer programs (2 string orchestras and a ten-day intensive, the Pacific Music Institute). Through our commitments to serving children statewide, we provide outreach and access for over 10,000 children annually. Over 100 public and independent schools are represented by HYS students every year. The majority of students reached by HYS represent public and homeschool students without access to comprehensive music education.

Over 20 public performances, of which nearly all are free, occur each year. Many feature recognized professional artists, composers, and collaborators. Recent classical collaborations have included violinist Midori, pianist Conrad Tao, and BSO Principal Trombonist Toby Oft. Clarinetist David Shifrin is scheduled to appear in 2017. In recognition of its high artistic level, HYS’ top orchestra, Youth Symphony I, performed on NPR’s From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley in December 2016.

Notable alumni include bassists Kurt Muroki (Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society) and Shawn Conley (Silk Road Ensemble, the Knights), violinists Si-Jing Huang (Boston Symphony Orchestra), Zoe Martin-Doike, and Khullip Jeung (faculty, Juilliard Pre-College), flutist Loren Lind (Philadelphia Orchestra), violist Anne Lanzilotti (faculty, NYU Steinhardt), hornist Markus Osterlund (National Symphony Orchestra), jazz trumpeter Eric Miyashiro (Buddy Rich Big Band), jazz musicians Abe Lagrimas Jr. and Dean Taba, and composer Michael-Thomas Foumai.

Hawaii Youth Symphony operates on an annual budget of $950,000, of which less than 33% is covered by tuition and registration fees. Our programs are funded through a diverse array of sources, such as foundation grants, donations, and corporate sponsorships, so that students of all backgrounds can participate.

The Community

Hawaii has a diverse, multiethnic community, of which the performing arts are a vibrant part. Traditional and contemporary forms of Hawaiian music provide a rich heritage for collaboration. Recent performances have paired HYS with Hawaiian cultural renaissance leaders like the slack-key guitar (kī ho‘alu) virtuoso Makana, popular entertainer Willie K, singers Robert Cazimero, Marlene Sai, and Danny Kaleikini.

Many cultural institutions comprise the tapestry of classical music woven throughout the islands, including the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Chamber Music Hawaii, Ballet Hawaii, Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, and Hawaii Public Radio. HYS collaborates frequently with other organizations to create unique opportunities for students and audience members alike.

A lively, dedicated community of music educators support the artistic landscape. A sample of organizations include the Oahu Band Directors Association, the Hawaii Association of String Teachers of America, the Hawaii Music Teachers Association. These organizations. produce competitions and performance days, attract guest artists, and support teacher professional development. HYS also partners with the University of Hawaii and the state Department of Education throughout the season.

Roles and Responsibilities

Working closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors, the Music Director is responsible for managing all artistic and educational aspects of the organization, and implementing the policies set by the Board of Directors. The Music Director reports to the Executive Director.

Leadership/Artistic Planning:

Work with the Executive Director to develop and sustain operational policies and procedures consistent with the Mission, Vision, and Core Values of the organization, and to carry out the HYS Strategic Plan.
Oversee the repertoire and educational offerings for each HYS program, as defined by the Strategic Plan. Work to balance classical canon with new works, and integrate local music/musicians where appropriate.
Oversee audition processes for all programs. Work with the conducting staff and program staff to ensure equitable audition practices, including repertoire selection and judge selection.
Oversee student progression in all programs.
Work with the Executive Director to secure guest clinicians, artists, soloists, and composers.
Oversee musical and educational aspects of the Pacific Music Institute.
Work with staff and faculty to develop new programs, including small ensembles.

Conduct all Youth Symphony I concerts, rehearsals, and events. Youth Symphony I is HYS’ most advanced symphony orchestra, and is typically composed of 90-100 students from grades 9-12. The Youth Symphony I season calendar typically involves the Na Mele Gala Fundraiser, the Winter Concert, (2) Listen & Learn Concerts, a Neighbor Island Community Service Tour (3 concerts), the Spring Concert, and the Aloha Concert Luncheon.
Plan and prepare season repertoire.
Provide service as “cover conductor” for other orchestras, as needed.
Conduct the Symphony Orchestra for the Pacific Music Institute.
Attend all performances, oversee acoustical balances and “sound check” rehearsals with soloists/guest artists.
Lead or coach additional rehearsals or sectionals as needed.
Attend additional performances by subsets of HYS, such as chamber groups, for special events, including donor events and public outreach. These events may be added throughout the season and will be scheduled with as much notice as possible.
Outreach/Community Engagement:

Play an active, dynamic role in media events and fund-raising activities.
Act as an ambassador for HYS both in concert and at certain community events.
Work proactively and collaboratively to create and/or deepen relationships with performing arts organizations, schools, universities, community partners, and funders.

Communicate with the Operations Manager and Programs Manager to facilitate all concert production needs, including staging, instrumentation, rehearsal scheduling, concert timing, and guest artist management.
Oversee and evaluate all music staff. Perform annual performance evaluations, consistent with the Mission and Vision of the organization.
Maintain current understanding of, and effectively utilize computer programs relative to, Music Director responsibilities.
Lead professional development opportunities for conducting staff.
Attend monthly Board of Directors meetings and provide Music Director report.
Characteristics and Goals

The ideal candidate will:

Maintain the highest artistic and educational standards while remaining supportive, patient, and approachable.
Display flexibility, transparency and openness.
Combine respect for HYS’ distinguished legacy with the courage to innovate, offering fresh vision, methods and style.
Serve as a role model for students and staff.
Represent HYS’ highest ideals to the local community and music world at large.
Possess excellent communication skills.
Position Requirements:

Orchestral conducting experience and broad knowledge of orchestral repertoire, concert programming, and adolescent musical development.
Master’s degree (or equivalent) required; a music performance degree preferred.
Fluency in English and ability to communicate effectively to high school students, staff, parents, and a wide range of audience members. Ability to articulate and demonstrate a deep appreciation for, understanding of, and sensitivity to the needs of high performing youth.
Due to the nature of the position, the Music Director/YSI Conductor is expected to reside in or near Honolulu, HI.


Salary commensurate with experience. Hawaii Youth Symphony offers a comprehensive benefits package, including (but not limited to):

Medical and Dental Insurance
Employee Programs and Discounts
Temporary Disability Insurance
Group Term Life Insurance & Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
Workers’ Compensation
Flexible Spending Program
Paid Time-Off Program and Company Paid Holidays
403(b) Retirement Plan
Pre-Tax Commute Plan, Section 132
Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
Tuition Assistance
Personal Development & Learning Opportunities
Applications and Inquiries

Please send inquiries to Leslie Wu Foley, Search Consultant, at Cover letter, CV, and at least two video examples (one rehearsal preferred, but not required) are due by August 14, 2017. Video examples should be provided by YouTube link; please do not send files.


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