Musical America Career Center

Music Director

Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
3 days ago


Contract Position Opportunity: Music Director, Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic
Reports to: WMPA Board of Directors

Posted: December 1, 2021
Deadline: March 1, 2022

Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association welcomes applications to the position of Music Director of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic. The Philharmonic is in its 50th Season and is currently under the leadership of Maestro Ulysses James who will retire at the end of the 2022/2023 Season.


The Music Director will strive to build on the Philharmonic’s 50-year history and to refine and implement the Philharmonic’s artistic direction and strategy. The Music Director is an essential collaborative role in the WMPA organization. We seek an outstanding musician, educator, and leader to be a part of this historic and dynamic organization,  helping the organization achieve its mission and goals, and positioning itself for an exciting future. The Music Director will be active and visible in the community, serve as one of the primary spokespeople for WMPA, and will set both a personal and artistic example for the organization. S/he has demonstrated leadership skills, is an effective communicator, and a proven team player. We anticipate the incoming Music Director to conduct 8-10 Philharmonic concerts (4-5 concert programs) per season.

This is a contracted position and includes the following services to be provided:


  • Rehearse and conduct the Philharmonic series through weekend rehearsals and concerts
  • In collaboration with Executive Director, evaluate rental venues for suitability, secure dates, and negotiate costs for all venue and rehearsal spaces
  • Review printed concert programs
  • Ensure all musicians for performances are fulfilled
  • Suggest fees for extra freelance musicians with consultation from the Executive Director as needed, following budget guidance
  • Keep attendance records to ensure accurate payment of musicians paid on a per service basis

Season Planning in collaboration with Artistic Planning Director

  • Develop a long-term artistic vision for the orchestra and a calendar of future events.
  • Secure services and contracts with guest artists
  • Plan concerts in line with budget limits; where possible avoid hiring musicians for a single piece
  • Program a diverse selection of symphonic music including, but not limited to, lesser-known works by well-known composers, new music by living American composers, and composers of a diverse cultural and ethnic background
  • Create educational opportunities for audiences and Youth and Concert Orchestra conductors and musicians as appropriate


  • Audition new orchestra musicians
  • Actively recruit musicians in the region for the Philharmonic
  • Design, refine and implement audition repertoire and other audition requirements


  • Adhere to budgets and submission timelines for annual planning, information required in season, event, and concert production, including rosters and repertoire
  • Attend regular programming meetings with Artistic Planning Director
  • Collaborate with staff to coordinate annual audience surveys
  • Participate in all Board meetings and serve on committees as designated by the Board President
  • Support Youth Orchestra music directors in their artistic visions, and attend Youth Orchestra concerts
  • Develop the position of Assistant Music Director (AMD) and cover conductor to ensure continuity of operations andperformances, provide opportunities for AMD  to conduct and rehearse the Philharmonic
  • Participate in Library Project: evaluation of current library holdings, what to discard/keep, and assist in determining cost-effective relocation of library
  • Participate in WMPA’s efforts to implement actions to increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all of our activities 

Fundraising and Community Engagement

  • Spearhead fundraising and development initiatives in conjunction with the Executive Director and Board of Directors; annual campaigns include Spring 2 ACTion and Giving Tuesday, and End of Year giving, among others
  • Assist in review of grant applications; maintain good relationships with the granting organizations
  • Participate in the promotional endeavors of the Philharmonic, engage with donors and stakeholders as requested
  • Plan and create future new community engagement programs that broaden the Philharmonic’s outreach across DC/VA/MD area, including Philharmonic chamber music ensemble development, pre- or post-concert discussions, master classes with guest artists
  • Collaborate on partnerships across the Alexandria arts community
  • Champion music education and performance as a community building tool by advocating for the promotion of classical music in the DC/MD/VA area

The successful candidate shall possess:

  • DMA in Conducting or equivalent experience
  • Minimum 2-3 years conducting experience with adult or community orchestra
  • An outstanding record of accomplishments as a musician and conductor
  • A thorough knowledge of orchestral repertoire and styles, including orchestral concert music, works for chamber orchestra, and symphonic choral works
  • Commitment to fulfilling the orchestra’s potential as an artistic and community resource; willingness to become involved in the life of the community
  • Proven ability to retain and expand audience and season subscriptions, and an expressed commitment to creating and building a diverse community of music enthusiasts
  • Strong written, verbal, leadership, and interpersonal skills – a track record of working well with colleagues and orchestra musicians
  • Knowledge and understanding of computer systems and technology including Google applications, video conferencing, and digital music platforms


  • Excellent conducting and musicianship skills, and ability to motivate and elicit the best efforts of the orchestra musicians
  • An acute ear for orchestra intonation, balance, and color; advanced skills in sight-reading and transposition
  • Successful and efficient rehearsal and baton technique that balances attention to technical details with communication of overall interpretive goals
  • Interpretive skills that enable communication of the emotional content of a wide range of music
  • Instinct for developing imaginative programming ideas that have significance to the orchestra, the occasion, and the community, and experience in diverse repertoire
  • Ability to inspire and communicate musically and verbally with audiences of all ages, both on and off the stage
  • Familiarity with fundraising and donor stewardship in the context of the performing arts
  • Readiness and ability to serve as the public face of the organization and a strong desire to engage with the community


  • Residence within the Washington DC metropolitan commuting area, or willingness to relocate to this area


  • Competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications


  • December 1, 2021 — Formal launch of Music Director Search
  • March 1, 2022 — Deadline for receipt of all applicant materials
  • March 15, 2022 — Complete application review and preliminary screening
  • March 15-31, 2022 — Zoom interviews (Round 1)
  • April 1-21, 2022 — Finalists interviewed in person with Search Committee (Round 2)
  • April 22--30, 2022 – Final candidates identified and confirmed
  • May 1 - 15, 2022 -- Finalists scheduled to rehearse and conduct a concert set (2 performances in one weekend) as a Music Director audition in the 2022/2023 Season. Finalists selected must submit their proposed audition concert repertoire with timings to WMPA search committee for review and approval. WMPA will provide a fee to cover stipend + expenses for rehearsals and concert performances in Alexandria, VA
  • 2022/2023 Season – Each finalist rehearses and conducts the WMP for one set of concerts. After each finalist completes their audition, WMPA conducts evaluation and comment surveys with orchestra and audience after each concert (Round 3)
  • March 1, 2023 or earlier — Offer made to selected candidate
  • March 15, 2023 or earlier — Formal announcement of Music Director selection
  • March 31, 2023 — Music Director start date (depending on availability)


For full consideration, applicants should submit their applications to by March 1, 2022. No phone inquiries, please. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Complete applications will include:

  • A thoughtful and detailed cover letter addressing your qualifications and how you feel they match specifications
  • An artistic résumé highlighting professional engagements (be specific on level). Highlight any administrative roles you have held with organizations, any opportunities to participate in community development and engagement efforts
  • Links to unedited recordings of rehearsals and concerts of contrasting repertoire
  • Links to your personal website and/or YouTube/Vimeo pages
  • Sample programs from the past five years of concerts in which you served as Music Director or Assistant Music Director or equivalent positions.
  • List of previously conducted repertoire in concerts with performance dates and venues
  • At least three references, at least two of which must be from musicians

All applications will be kept confidential.  Finalists will be selected for a concert program (2 performances) during the 2022/2023 concert season.

WMPA is an equal opportunity employer with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and complies with all applicable federal, state, and local antidiscrimination laws.

This position requires sitting, standing, hearing, speaking, being able to lift up to 25 lbs, and driving to locations pertaining to organizational operations as needed.  In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document upon hire.  We will begin reviewing applications upon receipt. Materials received after March 1, 2022 will not be considered.

Founded in 1971, Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic is an auditioned symphonic orchestra composed of approximately sixty-five professional and semi-professional musicians. The Philharmonic performs ten concerts (five programs) each season in Alexandria, Virginia at various venues. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor Ulysses James, The Philharmonic has earned a reputation for presenting adventurous programming. Its identity has been shaped by its intentional focus on a wide diversity of composers, premiering of works by living composers, and the featuring of works by a great variety of American composers.

Learn more about Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic at

Job Information

  • Job ID: 60098480
  • Location:
    Alexandria, Virginia, United States
  • Position Title: Music Director
  • Company Name: Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association
  • Job Function: Music Director
  • Job Type: Contract
  • Job Duration: Indefinite
  • Min Education: Ph.D.
  • Min Experience: 2-3 Years
  • Required Travel: None

Please refer to the company's website or job descriptions to learn more about them.

View Full Profile

Jobs You May Like