Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
St. Louis, MO
Type of Position: 
Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

REPORTS TO: President and CEO

DIRECT REPORTS: Senior Director of Production (Production Manager, Crew), Director of Orchestra Operations (Artistic Operations Coordinator, Audio Recording Engineer), Director of Orchestra Personnel (Associate Orchestra Personnel Manager), Artistic Administrator (Artistic Coordinator; Library; Symphony Chorus Manager, In Unison Chorus Manager), Director of Symphony Chorus, Director of In Unison Chorus, Assistant Conductor



The Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) provides leadership and oversees the programming of all concert series and activities of the SLSO, orchestra management, concert production and artistic administration, guided by the vision and strategies in the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan. Reporting to and working in close partnership with the President and CEO and the Music Director, the COO is a member of the Executive team and works closely with the Orchestra leadership. The position leads and mentors an artistic and operations team of twenty-one including four direct reports, guiding the development of artistic programing, season calendar, and orchestra operations within the guidelines of the stagehands and musicians’ collective bargaining agreements and other artists’ contracts, while ensuring that the SLSO’s artistic vision is imbued in all programming activities. The main staff liaison to the Board for artistic matters, the COO cultivates and deepens the organization’s relationships with key artistic partners and other arts and cultural organizations.

A leading member of the Executive team, the position: 1) serves as an advocate for the orchestra and nurtures a strong rapport with union and orchestra leadership; 2) develops a strong artistic portfolio that reflects the mission and vision of the SLSO, the orchestra and its Music Director, Stéphane Denève; 3) creates an unparalleled concert experience for audiences of all ages that furthers the reputation of the SLSO as a destination for musicians and artists worldwide and as a community leader; 4) fosters a satisfying artistic and work environment for orchestra musicians, guest artists and conductors, composers, artists from all disciplines, crew and chorus members, while developing and maintaining strong, constructive relationships that build upon an environment of labor stability.



Artistic Planning:

  1. A close partner to Music Director and President/CEO, shape artistic strategies and a work environment that support healthy relationships among all internal constituents and orchestra industry, while sustaining the SLSO as one of the finest, most adventurous and creative orchestras in the country.
  1. Foster and maintain healthy, constructive relationships with SLSO musicians, artistic and operations team and leadership. Oversee the orchestra calendar, utilizing Orchestra services in the most effective manner and in accordance with the CBA. With the artistic and operations team, serve as primary management liaison with Orchestra Council, various Orchestra Committees, and AFM Local 2-197 as appropriate.
  1. Envision the long-term artistic plan for all artistic programming guided by the vision for artistic vitality and growth of the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, ensuring ongoing operations during the renovation and expansion of Powell Hall and leading up to planning towards its completion in 2025.
  1. With the artistic team and input from the Music Director and the President and CEO, oversee the planning of all SLSO programs, and engagement of guest conductors and artists within approved financial parameters. Plan and execute the SLSO’s commission, media, residency and touring strategies. Develops concert programs that stretch the musical boundaries of the SLSO while supporting revenue goals and audience development objectives.  Events include, but are not limited to, Classical subscription series, “SLSO presents” (LAPH), media and recording projects, holiday programs, special concerts, residencies and tours.
  1. Develop and maintain relationships with artists, agents, and other influential music industry representatives to keep abreast of existing and emerging artistic talents and repertoire. Ensure that guest artists have a welcoming and fruitful experience at the SLSO, making sure they feel connected to the organization and when appropriate, secure their ongoing commitment and return engagement.
  1. Attend concerts and events frequently to gain additional insight into the performance of the orchestra and guest musicians, sharing perspectives and observations with the President and CEO and Music Director.
  1. Participate actively or collaborate with national organizations such as the League of American Orchestras, the American Federation of Musicians, and the International Conference of Symphony and Orchestra Musicians to stay informed of trends and general activities in the orchestra and performing arts sector.

Management & Operations:

  1. Implement strategies to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion to address internal culture, accessibility, recruitment, and retention of artistic and operations personnel, the audience experience, and other areas relevant to the artistic operations of the organization.
  1. Develop and maintain multi-year rehearsal and performance calendars in cooperation with all impacted SLSO departments ensuring adherence with provisions of the orchestra’s collective bargaining agreement and IATSE contract. . Identify creative and problem-solving strategies to maximize the use of orchestra services, alternative revenue streams, and innovative program design to capture new and emerging audiences Oversee production and orchestra operations teams.
  1. Oversee the preparation of and monitor budgets for artistic planning, concert productions, orchestra maintenance, and stage crews. Supervise orchestra and production staff to ensure the highest professional level of orchestra and chorus programs.
  1. Guide the Director of Orchestra Personnel on sensitive personnel matters that impact programs and interface with artists.
  1. Provide advice and support to the President and CEO in the SLSO’s collective bargaining process with Local 2-197 of the American Federation of Musicians and IATSE, ensuring productive negotiations that advance the mission, vision, and goals of the organization, and maintain a harmonious relationship with the musicians and union leaders.
  1. Oversee functions and related activities of the conducting staff, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON® Chorus, and orchestra library.
  1. Ensures that team provides input and guidance on content of all printed and digital publications, program notes and other content, including Playbill.
  1. Communicate with orchestra and institution regarding artistic planning and concert operations. Serve as staff liaison to the Board of Directors as appropriate, advocating for the artistic profile and decisions of the organization to trustees, volunteers, and civic and community partners. Maintain a calendar of public speaking engagements and lectures to audience members and volunteer groups to expand the visibility and community connections of the organization.
  1. Serve as primary contractual liaison with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and other key local artistic partners; negotiate multi-year agreements. Strengthen mutually beneficial artistic relationships with current artistic partners such OTSL, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, The Sheldon, Big Muddy, the Muddy, and many others, and build and nurture new initiatives and collaborations that grow the SLSO’s civic and artistic reputation.
  1. Partner with Vice Presidents of Marketing, Philanthropy, and Education and Community Programs to develop and implement innovative audience development programs, attain new and diverse audiences, and deepen the organization’s engagement with returning and new audiences, with music educators, students, and other emerging partners.
  1. Perform other duties as needed or directed.


An undergraduate degree in music, arts administration, or a related field is expected. A minimum of seven years of experience in a senior-level position with an orchestra or performing arts organization is required. Qualified candidates will demonstrate a deep understanding of classical music, awareness of current trends and best practices in orchestra management, and a keen interest in collaborating with musicians, composers, and artists. The successful candidates will have experience leading and supervising a team, working with a professional orchestra, and developing a trust-based relationship with the music director. Strong business acumen and the ability to understand complex financial and negotiated agreements is expected. Excellent communications, management and administrative skills; experience in preparing, forecasting, and analyzing artistic costs. Working knowledge of ArtsVision is necessary.


The Vice President and Chief Operating Officer will be a collaborative and dedicated leader with strong analytical and problem-solving abilities. A people-oriented leader and persuasive communicator, they will be comfortable interacting with multiple constituencies and easily adapt to differing situations. Resourceful and flexible, they will possess excellent organizational and project management skills. They will efficiently manage their time and focus, thoughtfully prioritizing tasks and resources. They will demonstrate a commitment to advancing the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.


Other key competencies include:

Leadership and Diplomacy – The sensitivity to tactfully handle complex or ambiguous issues, carefully considering all aspects of a situation, and bring parties together for positive resolutions.

Goal Orientation – The ability to set and attain artistic and organizational goals by developing effective strategies and pursuing opportunities that advance progress towards the goals, with the determination and persistence to overcome obstacles.

Teamwork – The willingness to cooperate with others, showing respect and appreciation for each team member’s perspectives and contributions.

Personal Accountability and Resiliency – The capacity to examine and evaluate personal actions, accept feedback and criticism, and use it as an opportunity to move forward.


About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra:

The Grammy Award-winning St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is one of the world's preeminent orchestras, celebrated for its warm and engaging sound, prolific and acclaimed recording history, national and international touring activities, and distinctive commitment to educational and community outreach efforts. Now in its 143rd season and led by Music Director Stéphane Denève, President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard and Board Chair Steve Finerty, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1880 and is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, preceded only by the New York Philharmonic.  The SLSO is the only major orchestra with a budget over $32 million in a 300-mile radius of St. Louis. The SLSO serves the St. Louis region through artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connections, honoring its mission of enriching lives through the power of music. In addition to its regular concert performances at Powell Hall, the SLSO’s home since 1968, the orchestra is an integral part of the St. Louis community, presenting free education and community programs throughout the region each year. Regular tours elevate St. Louis’ cultural profile nationally and internationally. In 1921, the SLSO began concerts for schoolchildren; today, SLSO education programming reaches over 250,000 students and teachers each season through a combination of in-person and virtual programming. The St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra has trained the region’s most talented young musicians since 1970. The SLSO maintains two resident choruses: the St. Louis Symphony Chorus founded in 1976 and the IN UNISON Chorus, specializing in the interpretation, performance, and preservation of Black American musical expression, which first performed in 1994. More about the SLSO:


About Powell Hall:

The renovation and expansion of Powell Hall (built in 1925 and home of the SLSO since 1968) – to begin in 2023 - will almost double the footprint of the historic building: from a 64,000 square-foot theater into a 125,130 square-foot facility, including a new lobby and entrance, more restrooms, appropriate backstage and musician facilities, more comfortable seats and ADA accessibility throughout. The expansion includes the addition of an Education & Learning Center (3,600 square f; 220+ seats), offering additional space for collaborative education initiatives as well as rehearsal, performance, and gathering space. This project will help the SLSO meet the need of community accessibility, encouraging community connections and enhancing quality of the experience at the SLSO. The project will transform the concert venue into a vital center for music focused on learning and appreciation that serves the needs of our community and brings audiences closer to the core mission of the SLSO.


The SLSO embraces a world in which every life is enriched through the power of music. We are committed to cultivating a culture of inclusion and connectedness where a diverse team of employees can grow and thrive. The collective sum of our employees’ individual differences, experiences, knowledge, self-expression, and talent are represented in our culture, innovative spirit and the SLSO’s achievements. In recruiting for our team, we welcome candidates’ uniqueness in culture, social identities, expression, and viewpoints. The SLSO is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Compensation and Benefits: 

Competitive salary with benefits

Application Procedure: 

Please apply through our website

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