Olympia Symphony Music Director Position Announcement

Olympia Symphony Orchestra Music Director Position Announcement

** AMENDED Jan 16, 2020 **


  • Application deadline extended to February 3, 2020

  • The OSO weekly rehearsal schedule is currently being evaluated but this process will not be complete until mid-February at the earliest. A fully condensed schedule is not being considered at this time, but we encourage potential candidates to apply who might consider the position based on a semi-condensed schedule (one and a half or two weeks).

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 OSO Board of Directors and Search Committee invites qualified candidates to apply; the position will begin with the 2021–2022 concert season. 

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 weekly rehearsal model (four Wednesdays, one Saturday, and one Sunday rehearsal followed by a Sunday concert). 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. 

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.

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.

Position summary

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


About Olympia

“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


For more information, visit:


Deadline to apply is February 3, 2020 (updated). Finalists will be selected in Spring of 2020 and required to conduct a regular concert cycle (all rehearsals and concert) during the

2020 – 2021 season (concert dates are Oct 11 and Nov 15, 2020, and Feb 14 and Mar 21, 2021).


Employment details: Compensation is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Music Director reports to the OSO Board of Directors.

To apply: Submit the following via email to search@olympiasymphony.org:

(use PDF format for attachments)

  • a personal letter of interest

  • an artistic resume

  • sample programs from the past two seasons in which you served as conductor or artistic advisor

  • three professional references (provide names and contact information); include one musician (required) and one administrative staff/board reference (preferred)

  • a repertoire list

  • links to videos showing conducting of contrasting repertoire


No phone inquiries, please. Do not send physical audio/video recordings at this time

these materials will be requested from selected candidates as needed.


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.

The Olympia Symphony Orchestra

3400 Capitol Blvd. S, Ste. 203

Olympia, WA 98501

Monday - Thursday 9:30am-2:30pm

Tel. 360-753-0074

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