Musical America Career Center

Artistic and General Director, The Glimmerglass Festival

Spotlight Preferred
The Glimmerglass Festival
Cooperstown, New York, United States
8 days ago


The Glimmerglass Festival invites applications and nominations for the position of Artistic and General Director, available in September 2022.  Francesca Zambello, who began her distinguished tenure as Artistic and General Director in 2011, has announced that she will step down at the conclusion of the 2022 Festival.  A Transition Committee has been appointed to identify the company’s next Artistic and General Director.

The Company

The Glimmerglass Festival is a professional not-for-profit opera company dedicated to producing and presenting exciting new productions each summer on a beautiful 26-acre campus along Otsego Lake just outside Cooperstown, New York.  Founded in 1975 as Glimmerglass Opera, the company has long embraced the tradition of presenting four fully-staged productions, which now include three operas and one work of American musical theater.  Works are performed with full orchestra, large casts, and no amplification in the acoustically excellent 900-seat Alice Busch Opera Theater.

Glimmerglass Opera became The Glimmerglass Festival with the 2011 season, its first under the leadership of Artistic and General Director, Francesca Zambello, to reflect the expanded scope of activities that take place throughout the eight-week summer season.  In addition to 40 performances of opera and musical theater, The Glimmerglass Festival offers visitors more than 80 other summer events, including concerts by guest artists, musical showcases, lectures and literary events by distinguished writers and cultural figures, and other work, including an opera produced for and sung by young people.

The multi-pronged mission of The Glimmerglass Festival is to:

  • Produce new, little-known, and familiar operas and musical theater in innovative productions
  • Provide professional training and performance opportunities for emerging artists and interns
  • Engage important artists who inspire the highest standards of achievement
  • Inspire dialogue around meaningful issues of the day through song and story
  • Collaborate with regional organizations, schools, and businesses to enhance life in Central New York

Premiering work of American composers and producing work from the American canon are central to the company’s programming.  Professional training is also a major focus of the Festival.  The Glimmerglass Young Artists Program and Summer Internship Program prepare 120 emerging performers, production personnel, and administrators each year.  Participants in these apprenticeship initiatives are guided by industry experts and are then launched on professional careers that in turn serve opera companies across the country.

In recent years, Francesca Zambello has developed programming that extends off-campus and off-season through education, community engagement, and social justice initiatives, work that has attracted national attention and significant philanthropic support.   Noteworthy initiatives include the company’s work with the Attica Correctional Facility, youth operas for local communities, transportation to provide access for new audiences, and a robust speaker series that addresses contemporary social issues.

Like performing arts organizations around the world, The Glimmerglass Festival faced major challenges with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of live performances for the 2020 summer season.  The company responded by producing a full digital season and training program. Determined to bring artists and audiences back to campus for 2021, the Glimmerglass team had the vision, creativity, and energy to develop a hugely successful season dubbed “Glimmerglass on the Grass.” Observing strict safety protocols for audiences, performers, crew, and staff, they presented opera in 90-minute performances with casts positioned on an outdoor stage, with orchestra and conductors inside the Theater, and with sound mixed and amplified for audiences on the lawn.

The Glimmerglass Festival fills multiple campuses and 24 buildings spread over two counties and more than 100 acres.  The operating budget is approximately $9 million.  The company is governed by an 18-member Board of Trustees.  Francesca Zambello is Artistic and General Director through the summer of 2022.  Joseph Colaneri is Music Director, Andrea Lyons is Executive Director, and Eric Owens is Artistic Advisor.  There is a year-round staff of 30 that grows to 300-350 during the summer season.  Additional support is provided by the volunteers through the Glimmerglass Guild.

The Opportunity

The next Artistic and General Director will take the helm of an artistically acclaimed company with a strong balance sheet, a $10 million endowment, a dedicated and generous Board, and a skilled and experienced staff.  The next Director will guide the company’s next phase of development, which includes continuing to understand and adapt to the impact of the current pandemic on the future behaviors and expectations of audiences, donors, performers, staff, and volunteers.  The next Director will have the opportunity to develop and implement a capital improvement plan for the campus that includes an assessment of the company’s buildings and other physical assets.

The next Artistic and General Director will welcome the opportunity to advance the work of American creative and performing artists; to develop the artists, technical staff and administrators who will lead the field into the future; and to deepen the commitment of The Glimmerglass Festival to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in every aspect of the company’s life and work.  


The Position

The Artistic and General Director is the chief executive officer of the Glimmerglass Festival and reports to the Board of Directors.  The Artistic and General Director provides vision, leadership, and strategic direction for all aspects of the organization in order to ensure that the Glimmerglass Festival fulfills its mission and achieves its goals for artistic excellence, financial sustainability, audience development, and community engagement.  The Artistic and General Director takes the lead in ensuring that the company’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is reflected on stage, backstage, in the audience, and in all aspects of the Festival’s programs, operations, and activities.


  • The Artistic and General Director is responsible for the Festival’s artistic The Director determines repertoire, productions, singers, conductors, stage directors, and designers for the Festival’s productions, community engagement, and other activities. The Artistic and General Director maintains the Festival’s artistic profile and reputation. The Artistic and General Director provides leadership to the company’s artistic staff, including the Music Director, Dramaturge, and Artistic Administrator, and fosters an environment that allows all artists, administrative staff, and production staff to do their best work. 
  • The Artistic and General Director devotes significant time and energy to fundraising in the Cooperstown community, across Central New York, in New York City, and wherever potential patrons for Glimmerglass Festival can be identified. The Director plays a major role in the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of gifts from individuals, foundations, businesses and corporation, and government sources.   Director works with the Board and development staff to curate all events, including a major fundraising gala each year in New York City.
  • The Artistic and General Director provides support and impetus to the work of the Board in fundraising for the annual fund, capital expenditures, endowment, gala events, and special projects. The Director is actively involved in Board recruitment efforts and widening the circle of volunteer support for the company.  Working with the Board Chair, the Director ensures that Trustees have the information they need to govern effectively. The Director attends and participates in meetings of the Board and it’s committees.
  • The Artistic and General Director is responsible for the overall management of the Glimmerglass Festival, which includes oversight of a 40-acre campus and for 24 buildings spread over two counties and more than 100 acres. The Director oversees the development and implementation of annual and multi-year capital budgets and operating budgets that balance artistic aspirations with financial realities. The Director monitors performance against budget and ensures that the company achieves its goals for earned and contributed income. The Artistic and General Director provides guidance and direction to a high-performing management team that is led by the Executive Director and includes the Directors of Development, Production, Company Management, Accounting, and Communications.
  • The Artistic and General Director is the visible representative and spokesperson for the Glimmerglass Festival in the Cooperstown area, in the Albany capital region, as well as nationally and internationally. The Director is a resident of Cooperstown full time from May through August, and spends significant time in Cooperstown in the off-season months. The Artistic and General Director is an active participant in the life of the regional community on a year-round basis.  

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who brings a thorough working knowledge of opera, a passion for connecting opera with audiences, and a track record of success in generating strong philanthropic support for opera from individual and institutional donors.

The successful candidate will have a thorough knowledge of opera and experience producing opera at a high professional level. The candidate will have significant experience working with creative and performing artists and the proven ability to lead and to collaborate with an artistic team. The successful candidate will have the demonstrated ability to foster an environment that allows creative and performing artists to do their best work. 

The successful candidate will have the proven ability to manage the business of opera: to increase and diversify the audience for the Glimmerglass Festival; to build and monitor production budgets; to achieve balanced budgets and meet goals for both earned and contributed income; and to recruit, engage, motivate, mentor, and evaluate staff.  The candidate will have successful experience overseeing fundraising, marketing, and public relations campaigns; leading strategic planning; and

negotiating work rules and agreements for artists, productions and co-productions, digital media, performing rights, and commissioning.   The successful candidate will have the ability to manage a campus of 100 acres that includes a theater, box office, production and rehearsal facilities, and staff offices as well as housing, warehouses, and rehearsal studios.

The successful candidate will be a skilled and enthusiastic fundraiser with a deep respect for philanthropy.  The candidate will be willing to devote substantial time and energy to donor cultivation and solicitation in Cooperstown, in New York City, and elsewhere.  Knowledge of the Glimmerglass donor community and experience fundraising for capital projects will be an asset.

The successful candidate will be a superb listener and a skilled manager who inspires teamwork and promotes a culture of collaboration among staff in order to achieve shared goals.  The successful candidate will be a leader who respects the invaluable knowledge and experience reflected in the Glimmerglass management team with their strong and deep history with the company.

The successful candidate will be person of integrity, self-confidence, and high ethical standards.  The candidate will be creative, curious, flexible, persistent, and kind.  The successful candidate will have the energy, stamina, and adaptability to maintain a strong presence in both Cooperstown and New York City on an on-going basis, and the ability to engage comfortably with a diverse group of staff, community members, constituents, and stakeholders.


Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.


The Transition Committee will begin to review candidates’ credentials in late January and expects to make an appointment by early Spring.  The Board will introduce and welcome the Artistic and General Director Designate to the 2022 Festival in order to effect a smooth transition in leadership.

The Glimmerglass Festival is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes recommendations, nominations, and applications from all qualified candidates.   

Applicants for the position of Artistic and General Director are asked to submit a letter that describes specific interest in the Glimmerglass Festival and outlines experience and qualifications for the position as described in the foregoing candidate profile.

Please send this letter with a resume of no more than four pages, salary requirements or expectations, and contact information for at least three professional references.  Please do not include work samples, repertoire lists, or press materials at this time.  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:

Glimmerglass Artistic and General Director

c/o Catherine French Group

MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only

Job Information

  • Job ID: 60865090
  • Location:
    Cooperstown, New York, United States
  • Position Title: Artistic and General Director, The Glimmerglass Festival
  • Company Name: The Glimmerglass Festival
  • Job Function: Artistic Director
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Job Duration: Indefinite
  • Min Experience: Over 10 Years
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