Celebrating its 90th season in 2022-2023, the York Symphony Orchestra (YSO) is one of Pennsylvania’s leading regional orchestras. The YSO can attribute its growth and success to artistic vision, fiscal discipline, and a culture of trust and excellence in all facets of the organization.
The York Symphony serves an immediate metropolitan population of approximately 450,000 people and several hundred thousand more in adjacent counties and cities. The orchestra’s 73 professional musicians contribute to the city’s exceptionally strong cultural community, which is also enhanced by the volunteer York Symphony Chorus. The YSO performs monthly between October and May and offers a variety of classical, pops, and educational programs.
In support of its artistic ambition, the York Symphony has demonstrated a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility. The YSO has an annual operating budget of $1.1 million and has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever with record subscriptions, single ticket sales, and contributed income. In addition, the YSO has more than tripled its endowment to $6 million – an endowment to annual budget ratio much higher than most orchestras of any size around the country. The YSO’s balance sheet shows healthy operating reserves and working capital.
With concerts at the historic Appell Center for the Performing Arts, the YSO closely partners with its host venue and is a proud and active member of the Cultural Alliance of York County and York County Economic Alliance.
The York Symphony is governed by a 20-member Board of Directors under the leadership of Board Chair Betsy Keefer and has a professional staff of five. Lawrence Golan has served as the Jody & Louis J. Appell Jr. Music Director since 2014.
The next Executive Director will take the helm of an orchestra that has emerged from the pandemic in a position of strength both artistically and financially. The Executive Director will participate in and help guide a strategic planning process that is now underway and is facilitated by Henry Fogel. In partnership with the Board and Music Director, the Executive Director will lead the next phase of growth for the York Symphony artistically, organizationally, financially, and in service to the greater York community.
Historic York Country is nestled in the rolling farmlands of south central Pennsylvania. York served as the first home to the Continental Congress from September 1777 to June 1778. Today, the area offers museums, cultural attractions, wineries, antique shops, craft fairs, and factory tours. Museums provide a look into agriculture, Native American life, timekeeping, weight lifting, and the unique world of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle.
York County is home to three state parks for hiking, fishing, and swimming. The nearby Susquehanna River makes York County one of the top boating and boardsailing areas in Pennsylvania. York offers a wide array of outdoor recreational activities, including golf, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, biking, and ice skating. York is about an hour’s drive from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, a thirty-minute drive to Harrisburg International Airport, and is less than two hours to Philadelphia
The Executive Director (ED) is the chief administrative officer of the York Symphony Orchestra and reports to the Board of Directors through the Board Chair. The ED partners with the Music Director in providing the leadership and vision that allow the York Symphony to fulfill its mission and achieve its goals for artistic excellence, financial sustainability, and community engagement.
The Executive Director is responsible and accountable for all aspects of the YSO’s operations, including: fundraising; artistic administration; marketing, communications, and public relations; budgeting and financial management; concert production and operations, musician contracts; human resources; educational programs; and community engagement. The ED ensures that the YSO’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access is reflected in all aspects of the organization’s operations.
The Executive Director, working with the YSO’s full-time Development Director, takes a major role in fundraising, including the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of donors and the stewardship of gifts. The ED provides guidance and support to the fundraising activities of Board. The ED ensures that the YSO achieves its goals for contributed income from all sources for the YSO’s annual fund, special projects, and endowment.
The Executive Director oversees the marketing efforts of the YSO to heighten public awareness of the Orchestra’s concerts, educational programs, and overall contribution to the cultural life of the community.
The ED ensures that the YSO meets and exceeds its goals for audience development and retention.
The Executive Director engages, motivates, and evaluates a high-performing administrative team. The ED oversees the implementation of musician service agreements and maintains an environment that allows the Music Director, orchestra musicians, and guest artists to do their best work.
The Executive Director oversees the development of the YSO’s budget, monitors performance against budget, and ensures that budget goals are met. The ED ensures that the Finance Committee and the Board have timely and accurate information to inform their decision-making.
The Executive Director is a lead spokesperson and representative of the YSO in the greater York community and is an active participant in the cultural and civic life of the community. As such, the ED is expected to be a resident of the community and to be a presence both in the office and in the broader community.
The successful candidate will be an energetic leader with a thorough knowledge of music and orchestras and the drive, creativity, and skills needed to develop an enthusiastic audience and contributor base for an excellent regional symphony orchestra. The ideal candidate will have prior successful experience in a management position with a professional symphony orchestra.
The successful candidate will have the proven ability to work effectively with a variety of stakeholders, including Board members, Music Director, musicians, staff members, volunteers, patrons, and community leaders. The candidate will be able to speak and write persuasively about the value and importance of the York Symphony and the commitment of the YSO to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in all programs and activities. The ideal candidate will have direct fundraising experience with individual and institutional donors.
The successful candidate will have strong financial management skills and the proven ability to achieve budget goals. The candidate will be familiar with artistic administration, concert production, and musician contracts. The candidate will knowledgeable and comfortable with the use of technology in all areas of operations and administration. The candidate will be skilled in utilizing social media to heighten the visibility of and interest in the YSO.
The successful candidate will be curious, persistent, empathetic, and kind. The candidate will be a person of integrity and high ethical standards and will have the emotional maturity required to manage a professional symphony orchestra. The candidate will combine a respect for tradition with the courage to take informed risks in order to find creative new solutions to the challenges that will face orchestras in a post-pandemic world.
The successful candidate will be able to accept a work schedule that includes evenings and weekends. The candidate will welcome the opportunity to reside in York and become an active member of the community
The salary range for this position is $80,000 to 85,000 annually.
The York Symphony Orchestra is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes recommendations, nominations, and applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or national origin.
Please prepare a cover letter that describes your specific interest in the York Symphony Orchestra and outlines your qualifications for the position. Please submit with a resume, salary requirements, and contact information for at least three professional references. Electronic submissions are requested. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
Please send materials to:
York Symphony Orchestra – Executive Director
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street NW, Suite 623
Washington, DC 20007
Please submit material in Adobe PDF format