President of the VSS and the VSOSOM

OCTOBER 2019

 

 

POSITION SPECIFICATION


Position President of the VSS and the VSOSOM
(Language of employment – English)
(Term of employment – Permanent)
Company Vancouver Symphony Society
(Operating as “the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra” and the VSO School of Music)
Location Vancouver, British Columbia
500-843 Seymour Street V6B 0G4
Reporting Relationship Board of Directors
Website https://vancouversymphony.ca

 

 

BACKGROUND AND CULTURE


On the heels of celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Juno and Grammy-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (“VSO”), the largest arts organization in Western Canada and third largest orchestra in Canada, is engaged in this search process for its President of the VSS and the VSOSOM to launch the next 100 years.

With the mandate “To enrich and transform lives through music”, the VSO has evolved into what is distinctly, one of the most successful, active and innovative orchestras in North America.  With over 170 concerts per year to an annual attendance of over 250,000 (including 50,000 children and young adults), the VSO presents passionate, high quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music, creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds wherever they perform. The VSO is seeking a President of the VSS and the VSOSOM who shares, and is passionate to carry out, the VSO mandate.

The VSO is comprised of 71 musicians and 40 full-time staff and is supported by over 300 volunteers including a 23-member Board of Directors.  The historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver is the Orchestra’s home.

The 2018-2019 centenary season was one marked with reverberating success, including record attendance with audiences surpassing the 280,000 mark.  This historic anniversary was celebrated with a host of special guest artists and free public events, including the Symphony at Sunset Beach at English Bay, attended by 14,000 music lovers, and a special Day of Music on January 26, at which another estimated 14,000 people either participated or attended. This year also marked the inaugural season of Maestro Otto Tausk as the Music Director, who followed what was an exceptional eighteen-year tenure by Maestro Bramwell Tovey.  In 2018, the VSO also performed outside of the Metro Vancouver area, performing in various Canadian cities during its B.C. and Canada Tours.

A hallmark to the organization’s success, is its resolute commitment to inspiring musical education and community programs. In 2011, the Vancouver Symphony Society opened the VSO School of Music, a community music school, created to provide a modern educational institution next to the Orpheum Theatre, where students of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds could enjoy lifelong learning.

The school currently hosts 1,800 students and 127 faculty members, including numerous VSO musicians. Since its inception, the VSO School of Music has awarded more than 100 scholarships and bursaries.

Presently, the VSO has an annual operating budget of over $17.6 million, making it the largest performing arts organization in Canada west of Ontario.

 

The VSO School of Music

The VSO is among few symphony orchestras with its own music school, distinguishing the VSO’s role in its surrounding communities. Joyful learning and playing for all ages and abilities are the hallmarks of studying at this unique music school; from newborns to seniors, amateurs to aspiring professionals.

The VSO School of Music is housed in a state-of-the-art 25,000 square foot facility adjacent to the Orpheum Theatre, which includes a 120-seat acoustically superb and vibrationally isolated Recital Hall; 18 state-of-the-art, acoustically designed teaching studios; two fully equipped classrooms; a two-storey ensemble room; six student practice rooms, as well as a complementary hosting and meeting space.

Now in its ninth year of full operations, the VSO School of Music has an annual operating budget of $2.4 million.

 

Vancouver Symphony Foundation

The Vancouver Symphony Foundation is an endowment fund established in 1993, serving to reinforce ongoing stability and steady growth for the VSO in alignment with its strategic plan. Revenue from the endowment helps to sustain the overall financial health of the VSO over the long- term, funding the following activities:

  • Fresh, Engaging Programming – Inviting acclaimed guest artists from around the world, staying on the leading edge of trends in the orchestral and music community, and responding to the needs of diverse and changing audiences.
  • Attracting and Retaining World-Class Talent – Competing with other orchestras across North America and around the world to bring the best and brightest performers to the VSO.
  • Innovative Education & Community Programs – Investing in British Columbia’s artistic future by reaching out to young minds, diverse audiences and emerging talent.

Including pledges receivable and receipt of committed Federal Government matching funds, the Vancouver Symphony Foundation presently has assets in excess of $36 million.

 

Education & Community Programs

The VSO believes that music is vital and essential to a well-rounded education and enriching life. As part of its commitment to bring the world of symphonic music to people of all ages, the VSO has developed and currently implements 13 education and community programs. In addition, the VSO’s musicians populate the faculties of music in numerous colleges, universities and community music schools throughout Metro Vancouver.

The VSO’s education and community programs are dedicated to enriching the lives of British Columbians and reach over 50,000 annually. Their purpose is to develop and offer symphonic music education programs to provide lifelong learning for all ages, with the following aims:

  • Offer quality and relevant music education programs through consultation, collaboration and integration.
  • Nurture / develop relationships with students, music educators, musicians, patrons and sponsors.
  • Implement educational program offerings, where appropriate, through emerging technologies.

 

 

THE OPPORTUNITY


The VSO seeks a President of the VSS and the VSOSOM who brings proven visionary leadership, innovation and a life-long passion for the arts.

In close collaboration with the Music Director and the Board, the President of the VSS and the VSOSOM will lead the overall strategy and business affairs of the VSO with consideration to its purpose, ambition, long term strategic goals and short-term priorities.  The VSO’S recent successes, ambitious strategic goals and incredible assets; including an amazing orchestra, a new and engaging Maestro and the VSO School of Music, provide future candidates with an opportunity to make their mark on the VSO’s next phase of impact.

The successful candidate will be an engaging and effective leader with strong sense of purpose, external relations and management skills, who will thrive working in this rewarding position leading this premier organization.

The President of the VSS and the VSOSOM is responsible for setting the organization’s strategy in collaboration with the Board and leading the day-to-day operations, assuring the VSO’s financial viability through income generation and philanthropic support. He / She will provide inspiration and motivation internally and externally to the Board, volunteers, staff and external stakeholders and assure the VSO takes advantage of Maestro Otto Tausk’s artistic leadership.

This opportunity will appeal to a proactive, roll-up-the-sleeves, results-oriented individual. He / She will bring a fresh perspective to the various programs of the VSO and demonstrate an openness and willingness to explore new ideas and approaches.

 

 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES


  • Board Liaison: Work collaboratively with the Boards (VSO, VSO School of Music and Vancouver Symphony Foundation) to set and implement strategic direction. Provide for the flow of information and support to the Boards and communicate on the current status of internal and external issues affecting each organization. Work with the Boards to attract and develop new Board members and other volunteers and ensure all are motivated, engaged and energized by their association with the VSO.
  • External Relations: Together with the Music Director and Chair of the VSO Board, act as leading representative, spokesperson and ambassador of the VSO to external constituencies. Work to create greater awareness and visibility for the VSO and enhance its image locally, nationally and internationally, as appropriate.
  • Artistic Oversight: Encourage artistic excellence, integrity and quality. Work with the Music Director and Programming Committee regarding artistic and programming decisions. Build strong relationships and open communication with the musicians.
  • Orchestra Operations: Oversee the management of all orchestra operations including the scheduling of concerts, selection of venues, touring, recording and contracting of guest artists, assistant conductors, composers in residence and guest conductors. Leads responsibility for negotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the musicians (members of the Canadian Federation of Musicians) and stagehands (members of IATSE).
  • Internal Management: Manage operations, budget and financial controls and short and long-term strategic planning through five direct reports: Vice Presidents Artistic Planning & Production, Marketing & Sales, Development, Finance, and the VSO School of Music & Community Programs. Along with the Board, responsible for ensuring the financial integrity of the VSO.
  • Overall staff management, including attracting and developing executive talent and for further building a collaborative, team-oriented work environment.
  • Revenue Generation and Fundraising:
    • Enhance ticket sales, sold services and other revenue generating programs. In doing so, brings strong understanding of and appreciation for marketing and the intersection of marketing and programming.
    • Assure the success of all philanthropic giving, sponsorships and special events. Overseeing the activities of the VSO’s staff, the President of the VSS and the VSOSOM assures that the annual development plan and any future capital/endowment campaigns incorporate measurable timetables and goals and that they are achieved. Actively participate in the cultivation and solicitation of major donors, including individuals, corporations and foundations, together with the support of the Board and the VSO’s development staff.
    • Serve as lead contact with bureaucrats and elected officials, and as grant writers for support from the three levels of government (municipal, provincial, federal).

 

 

YEAR ONE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS


  • With steady hands, effectively transition into the role and be positioned for a new era of leadership to create irresistible orchestral music experiences.
  • In collaboration with the Board and the Music Director, review and provide input on the five-year Strategic Plan for 2019-2024.
  • Continue to elevate the brand of the VSO – working diligently to ensure the VSO maintains its outstanding reputation throughout its stakeholder communities.
  • Establish credibility and build strong relationships with key stakeholders including the Board, the Music Director, musicians, staff, audiences, partners, government funders and donors.
  • Identify opportunities for the VSO to expand and diversify its current educational and community programs, including the integral role of the VSO School of Music.
  • Subject to the determination for the commencement for the next musician’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, if applicable, successfully lead and negotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the musicians.
  • Maintain the VSO’s year-over-year delivery of a balanced budget / operational surplus and lead the charge to increasing audience attendance and ultimately engagement between the symphonic arts and the community at large.

 

 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE QUALIFICATIONS


  • A progressive, action-oriented, ambitious leader – with proven success in a senior leadership role in a performing arts organization, ideally from within the orchestral world.
  • Significant leadership experience in a relevant profit or nonprofit environment, coupled with a demonstrated ability to operate effectively and credibly in an artistic environment with diverse constituents may also be considered.
  • Musically fluent – with a passion for and deep knowledge of classical music and the repertoire – with the ability to develop and articulate the VSO’s artistic vision.
  • Personal dynamism, creative vision, excellent interpersonal skills, business acumen and the highest degree of integrity. An innovator.  Mature and self-assured; able to demonstrate immediate credibility. Commands the respect of multiple stakeholders, internally and externally.
  • A public facing persona who has led impactful and highly successful donor development and innovative fundraising initiatives.  Complementary communication skills and the ability to inspire confidence and support for the VSO’s purpose across the community.
  • Proven mastery in the ability to navigate the political nuances of the arts world and, particularly, the granting process, ideally, at the federal, provincial and municipal level.
  • Track record of directing and growing high performance teams to deliver great results. A leader who can balance a collaborative, open, approach with effective decision-making.
  • Previous experience in union negotiation and labor negotiations in the arts is essential.
  • A clear understanding of the financial and business side of symphony orchestra management, with a track record of responsible fiscal management.
  • Experience reporting to, and working with, an engaged Board of Directors.

 

 

EDUCATION


A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is advantageous.

 

 

COMPENSATION


A comprehensive compensation package, including benefits, commensurate with the senior level of the role and related responsibilities will be provided to the successful candidate.

 

 

KORN FERRY CONTACTS


Thomas Deck
Principal
30th Floor
1021 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 0C3
+1 (604) 608-6521 (direct)
+1 (604) 862-0672 (office)
+1 (604) 684-1884 (fax)
VSO_President@kornferry.com

 

Shawna Cruz
Senior Associate
Vancouver
+1 (250) 575-7050
VSO_President@kornferry.com

 

Elizabeth Parry
Project Coordinator
Vancouver
+1 (604) 608-6503