We are pleased to announce that our Music Director Search Committee has selected ten semi-finalists to proceed to our next round of evaluation. We received 185 initial applications and were thrilled at the diversity of applicants and enthusiasm expressed for this position; it was a challenge for the Search Committee to make selections amongst such a competitive field. From this outstanding cohort of ten semi-finalists, four finalists will be presented to our musicians and community as they conduct audition concerts in the 2021-2022 season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty regarding the nature of public gatherings and concerts in the 2020-2021 season, we made the decision to delay our audition season until 2021-2022. During the 2020-2021 season the Olympia Symphony will remain responsive to public guidelines and safety concerns, presenting appropriate live and/or digital musical offerings as we accommodate our shifting social climate.
Olympia Symphony Orchestra representatives
Chris Barnes (Search Committee Chair, board member)
Cheryl Duryea (board member)
Craig Stephens (board treasurer)
Jennifer Hermann, ex officio (executive director)
Olympia Symphony Orchestra Musician representatives
Ashley Cook (principal clarinet)
Brian Geddes (principal bassoon)
James Harper (principal horn)
Mary Jensen (principal flute)
Holly Reeves (principal cello)
Joseph Sokolik (cello)
Jill Barnes (Washington Center for the Performing Arts)
Sokha Meas Colbo (Thomas Architecture Studios)
Ann Flannigan (Washington State Employees Credit Union)
Stephanie Johnson (Olympia Parks, Arts, and Recreation)
About the Olympia Symphony Orchestra
The OSO is a semi-professional orchestra based in Olympia, Washington, that serves the South Puget Sound region. Our mission is to provide the highest quality live music to enrich, educate, and entertain an expanding audience.The orchestra gave its first concert in 1947. Over time, the OSO has grown to become the premiere orchestra in the South Sound, acclaimed for its commitment to both community and artistic excellence.
Six conductors have led the OSO to date, including outgoing Music Director Huw Edwards, who has held the position since 2003. Our typical season includes five (5) regular season concerts at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, one outdoor summer concert, and one holiday concert. The OSO is currently using a four-week rehearsal model and will be using a semi-condensed two-week rehearsal model for the 2020-2021 Music Director candidate audition season. The current operating budget is $435,000. Personnel include 65 contracted musicians, a full-time Executive Director, and part-time administrative and orchestral support staff. The OSO is supported by an 11-person Board of Directors.
Education is a core element of our mission. We are proud of our collaborations with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO) and hope to expand our educational programs and outreach in the coming years. We have long-standing relationships with other arts organizations such as Ballet Northwest, Olympia Youth Chorus, and Olympia Choral Society (now Capital City Chorus).
Our search for a new Music Director is being led by a Search Committee that includes six musicians from the symphony, four board members, and four community members — all of whom are committed to representing the diverse constituencies within the orchestra and the South Sound region.
The Olympia Symphony Orchestra seeks a dynamic and experienced Music Director to build on our reputation of musical excellence and community impact in the South Puget Sound region. The position will begin with the 2022–2023 concert season. We seek a Music Director who will embrace the opportunities and challenges of an evolving orchestra and who is committed to a learning and growth mindset; someone who will continue to challenge players to achieve performance excellence, build a close relationship with an audience who expects and appreciates high-caliber live classical music, and work to attract new patrons in a changing entertainment landscape.
Provide artistic vision and musical leadership as conductor, artistic director, and community arts leader for a semi-professional orchestra with a $435K annual budget
Conduct all rehearsals and performances for OSO concerts
Attract and retain quality musicians, and audition new members as necessary in conjunction with orchestra audition panels
Design program repertoire and select guest soloists that provide cultural and educational value, engage the community and musicians, and introduce classical music to new audiences
Develop long-range artistic plans for the orchestra in conjunction with the Executive Director and Board of Directors
Present demonstrations, lectures, or masterclasses in schools and the community
Participate in and support fundraising and community engagement
Assist in the general promotion of the orchestra by being available for public appearances and media interviews
Graduate music degree with a minimum of 3 – 5 years experience programming and conducting a professional or semi-professional orchestra
Excellent communication skills with proven ability to inspire excellence and motivate musicians to perform at their highest level
A thorough knowledge of orchestral repertoire and styles and a demonstrated commitment to engaging programming
Proven experience as an engaging, public ambassador of a symphony organization who believes in and builds strong community relationships
Effective organizational and management skills and proven ability to work with a Board of Directors, Executive Director, and orchestral staff
Experience designing educational programs and presenting engaging concerts for youth audiences
Experience with hiring and dismissal of musicians
Familiarity with fundraising and donor stewardship
Strong interpersonal and leadership skills
“Olympia is located in a scenic waterfront setting at the southern tip of Puget Sound and enjoys a temperate maritime climate. The city is routinely recognized in reputable national rankings for its livability. Olympia is also within easy driving distance of major national parks, the Pacific Ocean, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and the urban centers of Seattle WA, Portland OR, and Vancouver BC.” — City of Olympia
The OSO is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, income or economic status, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender identity, gender or sexual orientation, or physical or mental ability in administration of its employment practices, contract negotiation, policies, programs, services or activities. The OSO is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, sponsors, and donors.