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Employment Opportunity: Music Director

Job Title:    Music Director
Reports to:    President & CEO
Status:      Full-time 40 hours/week, Exempt, Benefits Eligible

San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS) is pleased to announce a year-long search for a new Music Director to succeed retiring Music Director Jeff Edmons. This role will be a champion for music education in San Diego County and a visible member of the SDYS leadership team.  S/he is responsible, in partnership with the President & CEO, for setting the artistic direction of the organization and providing artistic and administrative leadership that helps the organization achieve its mission and goals, and position itself for a dynamic future.



The Music Director reports to the President & CEO and collaborates with the SDYS leadership team and ensemble program staff to build on SDYS’ 75-year history of service to the greater San Diego region and to refine and implement SDYS’ artistic direction and strategy.  The Music Director is an essential collaborative role in the SDYS organization, and we seek an outstanding musician, educator, and leader to be a part of this historic and dynamic organization.  The Music Director will be active and visible in the community, serve as one of the primary spokespeople for SDYS, 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.

This is a full-time, exempt, salaried position with benefits and includes the areas of responsibility listed below.  SDYS is open to a possible dual appointment as long as the Music Director can fulfill a significant percentage of his/her duties and lead others to provide support as needed (with appropriate salary adjustment).


  • Lead SDYS’ pre-professional level Ovation program in weekend rehearsals (and some weekdays) and performances a minimum of three times per year. Program concerts, create educational opportunities for audiences, and involve students as appropriate. Ensure Ovation repertory is aligned to student needs and conforms to SDYS curriculum guidelines.
  • Provide artistic leadership, repertory guidance, and coaching to SDYS’ in-house team of conductors and teaching artists. Set standards for excellence that are mirrored throughout the program, in 13+ large ensembles for students ages 7-22,  in areas such as pedagogy, conducting, score study, and “repertoire as curriculum.”
  • Collaborate with the ensemble program team to set all artistic, logistic, venue, and production details. Actively seek out innovative and engaging ways to present concert performances in the community.
  • Guest conduct other ensembles as requested (at all levels). Visit and observe other ensembles on a regular basis to provide guidance and support to other members of the artistic team.
  • Provide leadership for and/or conduct SDYS’ summer ensemble, the MusicCamp International Youth Symphony, in collaboration with the Rotary International Youth Exchange.


Curriculum and Auditions
  • Plan the orchestra rehearsal schedule for the season in collaboration with ensemble staff.
  • In collaboration with the Conservatory Program Manager, design, refine and implement audition requirements for all ensembles, ensuring an aspirational model.
  • Review auditions for assigned ensembles and appropriate age groups, and finalize placements for Ovation-level ensembles based on published criteria and SDYS standards.
  • In collaboration with the Conservatory Program Manager, review and approve repertoire selection for all ensembles to ensure alignment with SDYS’ pedagogical goals.
  • Provide support as requested for annual Concerto Competition, possibly to include repertory standards, timing, guest judges, and performances.
  • Collaborate as part of the ensemble team to create and implement new curriculum that broadens SDYS’ work with students across San Diego County, including new ensemble development, chamber music, theory, composition, jazz, conducting, and more. Work with staff to coordinate activities for student leadership activities.
  • Coordinate master classes with guest artists for programs at all levels.


Community Programs
  • Serve as a musical and educational ambassador to SDYS’ community programs. Champion music education as a community building tool.
  • Provide artistic leadership and support for SDYS’ community programs, including the Opus Project, SDYS’ flagship community engagement program.
  • Assist with the development of new programs for SDYS outreach efforts.
  • Collaborate on partnerships across the community with partners as diverse as area school districts and charter schools, to professional presenting organizations including San Diego Symphony and La Jolla Music Society.
  • Serve as guest conductor when requested by area schools, groups, and programs.
  • Design and deliver professional development programs for educators on a variety of topics.
  • Advocate for music education in schools at every opportunity.


Student and Family Engagement
  • Communicate regularly with students and parents to provide feedback on student and ensemble progress.
  • In collaboration with the Conservatory Program manager, coordinate students, especially those at the Ovation level, for all outreach performances in the community or for requested appearances by partner organizations.
  • Provide mentoring to students at all junctures. Assist in the development of enrichment programs for students and families, college fairs, etc.
  • As requested, deliver workshops for families in areas related to musical development of students (audition prep, college choices, resume development).
  • Provide student letters of recommendations and references as requested.
  • Actively collaborate in building an SDYS alumni program, participate in events, coordinate alumni visits with students, and engage that community.


Recruiting and Outreach
  • Actively recruit for SDYS programs while remaining sensitive to other providers in the region.
  • Offer to lead band and orchestra clinics in middle and senior high schools across the region.
  • Represent SDYS as guest conductor, clinician, judge, and panelist at schools, conferences, universities, tournaments, and festivals.
  • Give presentations at SDYS events, outside conferences, trainings, and community groups as requested and/or assigned.
  • Pursue personal professional development activities including conducting workshops, educational programs, etc.
  • Serve as visitor, guest conductor, instructor, or resource for SDYS partner programs.
  • Host visiting orchestras and participate in the organization of SDYS tours as they occur.


Internal Collaboration
  • Serve as an artistic resource to all staff and faculty.
  • Adhere to budgets and submission timelines for information required in season, event and concert production – including rosters and repertoire.
  • Collaborate with staff to coordinate annual program assessment and evaluations.
  • With the Conservatory Program Manager, do performance reviews for all conducting and teaching artists.
  • Participate in board and committee meetings as requested, and serve on committees as designated by the President & CEO.
  • Attend bi-weekly staff meetings, monthly conductor meetings, etc.


  • Participate in fundraising events by programming, coordinating, preparing students and leading performances as appropriate.
  • Participate in fundraising events through donor and stakeholder engagement.
  • Participate in development activities at the request of the development staff.
  • Participate in foundation and/or corporate fundraising as requested by development staff and/or CEO.
  • Other duties as assigned by the President & CEO.


  • An outstanding record of accomplishments as a music educator.
  • Excellent conducting and musicianship skills.
  • At least five years of experience working with youth groups.
  • Culturally sensitive with experience teaching diverse learners; Experience as a role model to students as musician, mentor, and citizen.
  • Strong written, verbal, leadership, and interpersonal skills – a track record of working well with high performing teams.
  • Knowledge and understanding of computer systems and technology including Google applications, video conferencing, and music notation/composition/sequencing/recording platforms.
  • Master’s degree in Conducting or equivalent experience.



(all dates subject to change)

  • Oct 1, 2021 — Formal launch of Music Director Search
  • Dec. 31, 2021 — Deadline for receipt of all applicant materials
  • January 2022 — Complete application review and preliminary screening
  • February 2022 — Zoom interviews (staff, board)
  • March 2022 — Finalists invited to San Diego to work with students, interview with staff, board, students and families, community stakeholders
  • April 1, 2022 — Offer made to selected candidate
  • April 15, 2022 — Formal announcement of Music Director selection
  • July 1, 2022 or August 1, 2022 — Music Director start date (depending on availability)



For full consideration, applicants should submit the following to by December 31, 2021:

  • A thoughtful and detailed cover letter addressing your qualifications and how you feel they match SDYS specifications.
  • A resume of professional experience highlighting both any professional engagements and work with youth groups (be specific on level). Highlight any administrative roles you have held with organizations, any opportunities to participate in curriculum development, and any experience with community engagement efforts.
  • Examples of repertory conducted and for whom (with a strong emphasis on youth programming).
  • Examples of educational or curricular materials developed.
  • Video examples of performances (and rehearsals if available), especially those with youth groups of various levels (links to your personal website and/or YouTube/Vimeo pages are fine)



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.  This is a full-time, exempt position that is eligible for full benefits, including health, vision, dental and life insurance, 401K participation (non-matching), FSA, paid time off, and discounts offered by participating Balboa Park institutions.  We will begin reviewing applications upon receipt; phone screenings will be held in December and January. Materials received after December 31, 2021 will not be considered.



With a vision of lives enriched by music, and values that embrace commitment, creativity, equity, collaboration and service, San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS) instills excellence in musical achievement and personal growth through rigorous and inspiring music education experiences.

For 75+ years, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) has served as a catalyst for investing in the future of thousands of young San Diegans through the study and performance of music. Through SDYS’ flagship ensemble program in historic Balboa Park, its neighborhood engagement collaborations across San Diego County, its early childhood music curriculum, and exciting plans for the future, SDYS is San Diego’s most comprehensive provider of cradle-to-college music education programming and a national leader in innovative community outreach, serving thousands of young musicians and their families every year.

At SDYS, we believe that music is a vehicle for giving young people the social, emotional, and academic skills that transcend traditional educational models and prepare them to enter a 21st-century workforce. We respect every young person who takes part in our programs and celebrate their accomplishments as musicians, as members of our community, and as future leaders in San Diego and across the nation.

Learn more about San Diego Youth Symphony at

San Diego Youth Symphony