Music Director Job Description – August 2017

Seattle Festival Orchestra (SFO)—a community orchestra based in Seattle, WA—is seeking a Music Director highly
talented as both a conductor and a musician. The music director works closely with the Board of Directors to create an
artistic vision and assist with the general development of the orchestra. S/he exercises authority in artistic matters
according to the guidelines and budget established by the board and mutually agreed upon at the time of his/her

Position Type: Independent contractor including non-standard hours.
Compensation Range: $8,500 - $9,500 annually (commensurate with experience).
Application Period: August 1 to September 1, 2017.
Start Date: The new Music Director will be in place for the 2018/2019 season.



  1. Provide overall artistic leadership for SFO.
  2. Lead all concerts and Tuesday evening rehearsals.
  3. Set and send each concert’s rehearsal schedule in advance.
  4. Select repertoire appropriate for the orchestra.
  5. Select soloists for the season.
  6. Assist in auditioning new musicians.
  7. Coordinate with personnel managers for subs and additional musicians.


  1. Maintain a sense of fiscal responsibility and work within a budget set by the board of directors for soloist fees and music purchases.
  2. Coordinate with music librarian and treasurer regarding concert music needs and purchases.
  3. Willing to participate in fundraising and promotional endeavors of the orchestra.
  4. Attend additional events as required (e.g. board meetings, fundraising events, etc.).
  5. Provide season program information (e.g. updated bio, concert order, intermission, etc.).
  6. Willing to become involved in the function of the orchestra’s outreach and community activities.

About Seattle Festival Orchestra

Seattle Festival Orchestra (SFO) is a ~60-person volunteer community orchestra established in 1977 by the former dean
of the University of Washington’s School of Music, Dr. Stanley Chapple. Originally, the orchestra operated under the
name Musician’s Emeritus Symphony Orchestra (MESO); the goal was to create an orchestra for musical retirees in the
Seattle area with a minimum age of 65. Conductor Jim Mihara became music director in 2000, discontinuing the age
limit and opened it to all members of the Seattle community. MESO grew to reflect the community dynamics with
sometimes three generations of a single family within the group. To reflect this change, the group was renamed to
Seattle Festival Orchestra (SFO) in 2008. In 2014, Dr. Wesley Schulz began his tenure as music director of SFO. Dr.
Schulz has led the orchestra both musically and as an organization, providing invaluable insights and guidance to the
Board of Directors as they sought to further establish the orchestra in the community.

SFO has given back to the Seattle community specifically to seniors and youth musical education. SFO has spent 40+
years playing run-out concerts at nursing homes and retirement centers. Additionally, the orchestra highlights student
musicians in the area, providing many talented protégés their orchestral debut, often partnering with Seattle
Conservatory of Music. Many of these student musicians have gone on to attend Juilliard, the Rice University Shepherd
School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Colburn School. In addition to giving young soloists the
opportunity to perform with the orchestra, SFO partners with local schools in side-by- side performances. This season,
students from Nathan Hale High School will join SFO for our third annual side-by- side in May 2018. Currently, the
orchestra is mostly comprised of working professionals that want to continue with their passion for music and share it
with the Seattle community.


These are the leadership qualities the Seattle Festival Orchestra seeks in its Music Director.

  1. Proficient in conducting and rehearsal techniques.
  2. An acute ear for orchestral intonation, balance, color, and transposition.
  3. Broad knowledge of and interest in orchestral repertoire.
  4. Sufficient knowledge of orchestral instruments.
  5. Instinct for developing creative programming ideas.
  6. Provide a welcoming and educational environment at rehearsals of a community orchestra.
  7. Engage and communicate enthusiastically with audiences of all ages.


  1. Bachelor’s degree; Master’s degree in Music preferred.
  2. Experience conducting an adult community orchestra is preferred.
  3. Maintain residence in the greater Seattle area.

Application Materials

Please submit the following application materials to the Seattle Festival Orchestra electronically to by September 1, 2017:

  1. Letter of interest
    • Please address the following in your letter:
      • What is unique about your approach in working with a community orchestra?
  2. Resume
  3. List of three references with contact information
  4. Links to two or three videos (website or YouTube) showcasing your conducting
    • Prefer one video to be of a rehearsal
    • Camera should face the conductor from the perspective of a musician

More Information

  • Review of applications will begin immediately.
  • Additional materials may be requested later in the application process.
  • Finalists will be invited to guest-conduct a concert set during the 2017/2018 season.
  • There are no health/insurance benefits or mileage reimbursement offered with this position.