Employment & Auditions


Employment & Auditions

Thank you for your interest in the Madison Symphony Orchestra! If you have a passion for live, classical music and would like to lend your talents to one of America’s leading regional orchestras, please use the links below to browse our open administrative positions or learn more about auditions for the Orchestra and Chorus.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States. The Madison Symphony Orchestra believes that diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich our organization. We are committed to increasing our efforts to diversify our administrative and board leadership, orchestral music and performers. Madison Symphony Orchestra Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Jobs at the Madison Symphony Orchestra

Administrative Positions

Executive Director

(download a PDF of this job description)

H C Smith Ltd is pleased to represent the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Inc. (MSO), one of America’s leading regional orchestras, in its search for a new Executive Director. Under the leadership of Grammy-winning Music Director John DeMain (hailed as “a gifted orchestra builder” by The New York Times), the Symphony is in its 95th season, and enriches the cultural and educational environment of Madison and the surrounding area with excellent performances of the great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. In addition, the Symphony presents a great organ series and free summer organ concerts, as well as Education and Community Engagement Programs that bring the joy of music to more than 25,000 children and adults annually.

The Symphony performs in Madison’s resplendent Overture Center for the Arts, a multi-venue center designed by internationally renowned architect César Pelli, which includes Overture Hall, an acoustically excellent and visually beautiful setting for symphonic music that is convertible for performances of Broadway, opera and ballet. Built in 2004 with acoustics designed by the award-winning firm Kirkegaard Associates, Overture Hall is also home to the Overture Concert Organ, owned and commissioned by the MSO in 2001 and built by Orgelbau Klais in Bonn, Germany.

The Madison, Wisconsin, community has tremendous natural beauty, a world-class university, a dynamic economy and more dining and cultural attractions than any other city its size. (Madison Chamber of Commerce) With a very affordable cost of living, Madison welcomes people of every background to enjoy and experience the arts.

The MSO has a budget of approximately $5 million and is supported by endowments of about $30 million, as well as a robust fundraising program. Looking forward to its centennial season in 2025-26, it presents an exciting opportunity for the right candidate.

General Summary

The Executive Director will be a transformational, inclusive, transparent and innovative leader, responsible for managing the human and financial resources of the MSO in order to achieve its mission: to produce high-quality concerts of orchestral, instrumental, vocal and choral music, to educate and entertain audiences of all ages in the Madison area and beyond, and to advocate for music as a universal language of expression and understanding.

The Executive Director is responsible and accountable for all aspects of the organization, for working in tandem with the Music Director and for implementing the policies set by the Board of Directors. The Executive Director will possess a genuine love of music, and be passionately committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion and the artistic, fundraising, community and financial success of the Symphony.

The next Executive Director will be a calculated risk taker who will look with new eyes throughout the organization, and work with the Board, artistic and administrative leadership to ensure that the MSO continues to operate on a stable financial basis and looks to the future as it carries out its obligations and mission to serve as a leading community, cultural and educational institution.

Duties and Responsibilities:

• Lead the development and execution of annual and long-term plans that secure the best possible realization of visionary and mission goals and financial performance for the Symphony.
• Reporting to the Board of Directors, lead the Symphony’s daily operations: develop, propose and manage budgets and oversee the fiscal operations.
• Deliver solid financial leadership to diversify and expand the Symphony’s sources of contributed and earned revenue.
• Provide vision and leadership to the Madison Symphony’s major fundraising initiatives; build relationships with significant individual and institutional donors; identify and encourage opportunities for involvement from volunteers and leadership.
• Ensure diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the organization, and expand the Symphony’s welcome throughout the Madison community.
• Foster and deepen relationships with the Symphony’s musicians and chorus members.
• Collaborate with and support the Music Director on the artistic vision for the Madison Symphony, and embrace creative new kinds of artistic offerings and educational/community programs to further the artistic, diversity and strategic mission of the Symphony.
• Work with the Music Director in development of artistic programming, including selection of guest artists and repertoire. Invite, schedule and engage guest artists, negotiate contract terms and develop the program activities calendar.
• Recruit, lead, manage, mentor and develop staff. Create the necessary work environment for effective operations.
• Provide leadership in the negotiation of union contracts; ensure compliance with all contracts and applicable laws.
• Serve as the Symphony’s primary spokesperson and top ambassador locally and statewide as well as regionally and nationally; develop relationships with other artistic organizations in the region, and grow the orchestra’s reputation to secure its place in the community.
• Make the best use of available marketing tools and tactics to retain and grow audiences, promote an appreciation of live classical music and associated genres, and encourage the greater Madison community to become active participants both at Overture Hall and anywhere the Symphony plays.
• Apply new ways to solve complex situations, originating new techniques, criteria or standards to address innovative opportunities, challenges or initiatives.

Desired Candidate Qualifications and Qualities:

• Five-plus (5+) years of progressively responsible leadership experience, preferably with a professional symphony orchestra association.
• Bachelor’s degree (master’s or advanced degree in music, business or related field a plus), with a deep understanding of the importance of symphonic music in society.
• Sterling business and financial management skills and demonstrated track record and success in managing large, complex matters with significant budgetary and employee responsibility.
• Demonstrated integrity and charisma as a community leader and representative, and the ability to use that public persona to develop new opportunities for the organization; skilled communicator, listener and collaborator – open, approachable, personable – promoting a positive environment within the organization: for orchestra, chorus, board, staff and volunteers.
• Proven commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, with experience in creating both planning processes and execution in a collaborative environment.
• Deep experience with board development, recruitment, support and governance.
• Success in high level fundraising, donor stewardship, public funding, endowment planning and growth, and other strategic development efforts.
• Demonstrated success in effectively prioritizing, delegating and executing multiple projects and initiatives with multiple stakeholders.
• Proven experience in creatively and effectively bringing about positive change, and creating and/or maintaining high morale, including a history of development, mentorship and support of effective staff teams.
• Successful and collaborative negotiator with experience in a unionized environment.
• Current knowledge of issues related to the field of orchestra management.
• Ability to manage vision and purpose as a strategic, decisive, supportive and gracious leader and mentor in a fast-paced environment.

4570 Renaissance Parkway, Cleveland, OH. 44128 (216) 752-9966
rebecca@hcsmith.com www.hcsmith.com

The Madison Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength. BIPOC individuals are encouraged to apply. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Internships (Unpaid)

None available at this time.

Orchestra Auditions

The MSO is a fully orchestrated, part time professional ensemble comprised of 91 contracted, per-service musicians, offering approximately 80 services per season.

See Audition Excerpts List COMING SOON.
Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States.

If you would like to audition, please email a cover letter and one-page resume including your instrument to MSO Personnel Manager Alexis Carreon at acarreon@madisonsymphony.org

Other Auditions for the Madison Symphony Orchestra will resume in 2022.

Madison Symphony Chorus Auditions

The Madison Symphony Chorus is comprised of more than 125 volunteer musicians who come from all walks of life who enjoy combining their artistic talent. New members are always welcome. To make an appointment to audition, contact Chorus Manager Dan Lyons at daniel.lyons1908@gmail.com