The Traverse Symphony Orchestra has an opening for an Executive Director.


Organization Description:

The  Traverse Symphony Orchestra is northern Michigan’s leading regional performing arts ensemble. It is a professional, part-time orchestra of exceptional artistic quality with a core of 60+ musicians and additional instrumental professionals from across the state. TSO Music Director Maestro Kevin Rhodes is an internationally successful conductor, leading over 20 orchestras in Europe in his career.

Position Summary:

The executive director (ED) is accountable for all aspects of the organization and for implementing policies set by the board of directors.  The ED assumes responsibility for the management of all human and financial resources needed to achieve the orchestra’s mission. To that end, the ED sets the tone for organizational operations, formulating and carrying out policies and programs related to administrative, budgetary, staffing, fund-raising, and advocacy activities, and serves as the public face for the orchestra in community activities and patron/donor relations. The multi-faceted responsibilities call for an individual with demonstrated leadership skills and extensive management experience, the ability to assemble an effective staff, work effectively with board and community members, and collaborate with artistic personnel to ensure the integrity and growth of orchestra programming. The ED reports directly to the Board through the Board president. The ED’s artistic counterpart is the music director.

The role of the executive director is to do all things possible to see that the organization constantly improves its musical product, that it operates on as stable a financial basis as possible, and that it carries out its obligation to serve as a community cultural and educational institution — an obligation placed upon it by federal tax laws as a 501(c)(3) organization, and also by the fact that the organization solicits and accepts contributions from the general public in order to strengthen the musical assets of the community.

Specifically, the executive director’s overall responsibilities involve all aspects of the organization. This does not mean that the executive director carries out all tasks personally, but that he or she is responsible for seeing that all of them are handled in an appropriate manner.


Strategic Planning

  • Assist and participate in the development and implementation of a master plan for the orchestra that supports the artistic, financial, and public relations objectives of the organization.
  • Develop and implement current and long-range administrative and personnel planning to ensure that the organization is effectively structured and staffed competently.

Board of Directors

  • Advise the Board on matters within the ED’s scope of responsibilities to promote the efficient operation of the orchestra and the delivery to the public of the services of the TSO’s mission.
  • Serve as ex-officio member of all Board committees.
  • Attend all meetings of the Board and Executive Committee; prepare and present reports for each Board and Executive Committee meeting and for other committee meetings as required.
  • Work with the Nominating and Governance Committee, help to identify and recruit qualified candidates for Board membership; assist with new member orientation.


  • Assist Board and staff in fundraising activities, including Annual Campaign, corporate sponsorship, special events, Endowment campaigns, grants, planned giving and identification and cultivation of donors.
  • Ensure that all contributions and other support are acknowledged as may be required by law and is otherwise appropriate; maintain accurate and complete records of financial contributions and other substantial support.

Marketing and Public Relations

  • Market and sustain the orchestra’s branding.
  • Ensure effective communication with the TSO’s constituencies: volunteer groups, other arts organizations, public agencies, government agencies, and the general public to maintain a strong community-wide image.
  • Develop and implement a marketing plan for subscription and single ticket campaigns, using appropriate advertising and publicity to achieve maximum season and single ticket sales; oversee ticket sales operations.
  • Maintain relationship with media contacts and generate feature stories.


  • Ensure that accurate books of accounts are maintained.
  • Prepare, submit for approval, and meet annual operating budgets. Monitor and authorize expenditures in accordance with approved budget; prepare updated projections based on actual income and expense activity.
  • Prepare monthly financial statements, including cash flow projections, for Board review and approval. Review and approve accounts payable and receivable.
  • Ensure that grants are spent in accordance with grant guidelines and that all reporting requirements are met.


  • Consult with the music director on artistic vision, guest artists and conductors, product mix and artistic planning. Assist in the development, implementation, and monitoring of TSO’s artistic objectives.
  • Serve as principal staff liaison to the orchestra for policy issues and non-artistic matters. Negotiate and implement a Master Agreement with the orchestra’s musicians.


  • Maintain the business office of the organization.
  • Handle patron and donor correspondence on behalf of the organization.
  • Maintain documents according to legal requirements and/or Board policies and procedures.
  • Maintain adequate insurance to protect the orchestra’s assets and property.
  • Recruit, select and supervise three full-time staff (Director of Development, General Manager and Office Manager) and two part-time staff (Accountant and Civic Ensembles Director). Evaluate staff performance annually in writing. Maintain personnel files.
  • Ensure that all employer responsibilities are met and that the organization is in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.
  • Prepare and revise position descriptions, employee handbook, and employment policies.


  • Develop, implement and monitor education programs and objectives.

Entry Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Minimum of five years experience in symphony or other not-for-profit management.
  • Background in marketing, public relations and fund development.
  • Superior interpersonal communication skills.
  • Consensus-building and organizational skills.
  • Experience in business finance management and accounting skills.
  • Knowledge of and passion for symphonic orchestral repertoire.
  • Solid computer skills.

About Traverse Symphony Orchestra

The Traverse Symphony Orchestra is northern Michigan’s leading regional performing arts ensemble.

MISSION STATEMENT: A professional orchestra serving northern Michigan bringing unprecedented excellence in symphonic and other musical experiences.

VISION STATEMENT: To be a cultural model for the region, exciting a diverse and growing audience through artistic excellence, strong leadership and sustainable operations.


Compensation (Salary or Hourly Wage)

$$55,000-70,000 salary