In an orchestra, the oboe sets the pitch. The conductor sets the tempo.
And the CEO sets the tone.
With the right tone, a whole community is inspired and empowered to build a thriving, sustainable enterprise.
This is a tone of clarity and integrity. It’s invitational and inclusive, welcoming contributions from broad and diverse constituencies. It’s relational and collaborative. It’s ambitious, brave, and outward-focused. It’s creative, energetic, and innovative.
Beyond setting the tone, the CEO must also be an amplifier: nurturing the talents and energies of the team, and reaching into the wider community with opportunities for engagement. The CEO will seek to extend the Calgary Philharmonic’s impact through generative partnerships – both artistic and nonartistic.
The viability of the Calgary Philharmonic depends on three pillars: Community Relevance, Financial Sustainability and Artistic Excellence. The Board seeks a CEO who recognizes the interdependence of these pillars. Like the legs of a stool, they are equal importance. Or in musical terms, they form a triad.
The CEO’s core mandate is to design and implement a business model and operating system for the coming decade that ensures the integrity, harmony, and balance of this triad.
The Leadership Challenge
The Calgary Philharmonic is built on a strong foundation: bold artistic vision; fine musicians; dedicated leadership team and staff; excellent hall; supportive patrons; and a dynamic city. Nonetheless, it faces two significant challenges confronting most North American orchestras today: (1) demonstrating community relevance; and (2) achieving a financially sustainable business model. These challenges are, of course, also linked.
In this new decade of evolving tastes, changing demographics, and intense competition for shortened attention spans, orchestras must work more creatively than ever to engage and develop audiences. The Calgary Philharmonic must be relevant to an increasingly diverse community, accessible and stimulating to long-time subscribers and individuals who have never been to the symphony before. The Calgary Philharmonic also must engage with the pressing issues and themes in the community if it is to remain relevant and valued. A leader must be sensitive to these community dynamics, and create multiple points of engagement for diverse audiences and partners.
The financial model that has supported orchestras for decades is also under strain. Earned revenue from ticket sales – even sell-outs – cannot cover operating costs; public funding is an important but shrinking component of revenue; and our most dedicated patrons are aging. Corporate sponsorships have dwindled as the local economy, largely shaped by the energy sector, faces significant headwinds. On the expenses side, many costs are fixed, particularly in a union environment.
And of course, the pandemic’s restrictions have suspended live performances with audiences. A new CEO will continue to guide the organization through these uncertain times, and lead it into a postpandemic world, whatever and whenever that may be.
As daunting as these challenges might seem, we believe strongly that if a thriving and sustainable orchestra can be built anywhere in North America, Calgary is that place. And perhaps uniquely, Calgary is a place where an exceptional arts leader can not only enjoy the city’s overall quality of life, but substantially contribute to it.
Calgary has a young, educated, and affluent population. It has entrepreneurship in its DNA, and aspires to be world-class in the things it takes on. It is a welcoming place that embraces newcomers and new ideas. It has an exciting culinary scene. Large-scale art installations and infrastructure, such as the Peace Bridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and Wonderland by Jaume Plensa, have joined the Stampede as some of Calgary’s most iconic and treasured landmarks. The new Calgary Public Library has caught the attention of architecture aficionados globally.
Calgary’s recreational offerings compete with the best anywhere. Less than an hour away, the Rocky Mountains beckon hikers, skiers, and explorers. The City has invested in bike lanes and pathways that are used year-round. Annually, the Calgary Stampede transforms the city into a western oasis for 10 days where Calgarians welcome visitors from around the world.
The Economist consistently ranks Calgary as one of the world’s top-5 most livable cities. No wonder there are more sunny days in Calgary than any other Canadian centre. Calgary is situated on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, and îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3) and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.
Calgary boasts a vibrant arts scene. It is home to Calgary Opera, Alberta Ballet, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, The Old Trouts Puppet Workshop, Luminous Voices professional chamber choir, and many other performing arts companies. It has a thriving festival scene, with the Calgary Folk Festival attracting thousands of patrons each summer. One hour down the Trans-Canada Highway lies Banff Centre. Calgary has two universities, the Glenbow Museum, and a host of art galleries, as well as numerous flexible performance venues.
Arts Commons, lies at the heart of downtown Calgary, and is home to Alberta Theatre Projects, Arts Commons Presents, Downstage Theatre, One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre, Theatre Calgary, as well as the Calgary Philharmonic. Arts Commons is about to embark on a transformative upgrade that will expand capacity, be more welcoming of the public, and renew existing facilities. A few blocks away, construction is underway for a new Entertainment District on the Calgary Stampede grounds, including both a new convention centre and arena.
PRESIDENT & CEO ROLE DESCRIPTION
The President and CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Society is responsible for the planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and evaluating of all aspects of the Calgary Philharmonic Society’s business, educational and artistic operations. The President and CEO reports to and works collaboratively with the Society’s Board of Directors to establish policies and strategic plans which establish the direction taken by the Society.
Core Job Responsibilities
Build and implement strategic plans
Establish objectives for the Society and oversee the formulation of policies, programs and processes including measurement and assessment of organizational goal achievement
Define, articulate, and inspire a culture of excellence establishing the Calgary Philharmonic as leader within the arts community and as an employer of choice
Allocate material, human, and financial resources to implement organizational policies and activities, establish financial and administrative controls, approve promotional campaigns and overall staff planning
Select and oversee Directors (Artistic, Educational and Business Operations) and other senior level staff
Ensure co-ordination of the activities and results of the various work units
Represent the Calgary Philharmonic and, as appropriate, delegate representatives to act on behalf of the organization in negotiations or other official functions
Cultivate strong networks and relationships within the local, national, and international arts and classical music communities, government agencies, potential and realized corporate and private funders and donors, and Arts Commons and its other resident companies
Make the major business decisions
Manage the overall operations and resources of the Society
Continuously evaluate and adapt to the social, political, and economic climate, mitigate operational and financial risks, and create strategic opportunities
Develop and maintain a high-performing team to sustain the financial viability and creative excellence of all aspects of the Calgary Philharmonic’s operations
Oversee and support the development and maintenance of a productive relationship between the Society and the Musicians’ Collective Bargaining Unit
Function as the main point of communication with the Board of Directors, facilitating and supporting Board and sub-committee activities and meetings
Function as the main point of communication with all Calgary Philharmonic operations (musicians, staff, patrons and donors, board, foundation trustees)
Attend all major performances and functions of the CPO, speaking at events as appropriate.
Function as the public face of the Calgary Philharmonic, liaising with artistic and community partner organizations, provincial and federal politicians, and bureaucrats (Mayor & Council; MLAs & MPs; Calgary Arts Development, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canada Council and Canadian Heritage; media; and others)
Liaise with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation
Actively participate in fundraising initiatives for the CPO and the Foundation
Engage with, support, and contribute to Calgary’s arts ecosystem A healthy arts community requires all arts organizations to think beyond their own particular interest, and contribute to an ecosystem through collaboration and mutual support. The Calgary Philharmonic seeks an executive who recognizes this is not a zero-sum game.
We are seeking a leader who will:
unite a diverse stakeholder group around a vision for the future
instill a culture of innovation, appreciation, and collaboration
create and implement a robust business plan
inspire our community to build that future together
This calls for a special person. Who you are, matters as much as what you are. How you’ve led, matters as much as what you’ve led. What you seek to create, matters as much as what you have already accomplished.
You artfully balance consultation and consensus-building with decisive action. You are respected for your empathy as well as your resolve. You have a heart, ears, brain, and a spine. You hold yourself and others to high ethical and performance standards. Your enthusiasm for our Mission is contagious. You make decisions that best balance and serve the Calgary Philharmonic's "triad” operating model, above.
While there is no one-set path, education or professional background to prepare candidates to meet this moment, we consider the following skills and attributes as essential:
A passion for music
Senior executive leadership experience
Complex problem-solving skills
Business acumen and entrepreneurial thinking
Exceptional relationship-building skills across a diverse spectrum of people
Effective communications skills, including public speaking
Confidence, tempered by humility
Demonstrated ability to raise money and grow a business
If you have a compelling leadership proposition for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, we look forward to hearing from you.
Candidates who wish to explore this exceptional leadership opportunity in confidence should email their cover letter and résumé to:
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is a cornerstone of Calgary’s vibrant arts community. Since its founding in 1955, it has grown to become one of Canada’s preeminent live music ensembles.
The Calgary Philharmonic’s home for live performance is Arts Commons’ acoustically superb Jack Singer Concert Hall.
The Orchestra has 66 fulltime members, and a wonderful 120-voice Philharmonic Chorus. Over a 40- week season, the Calgary Philharmonic presents classical masterworks, pop favourites, bold collaborations, and cutting-edge new works, and attracts world-renowned guest artists and dynamic conductors. The Orchestra welcomes over 100,000 listeners annually, and brings music to more than 20,000 Albertans through education and community programs. It also performs with Calgary Opera and Alberta Ballet, and collaborates in the finals of the triennial Honens International Piano Competition.
At the start of the 2017/2018 Season, the Orchestra welcomed Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann as Music Director. Maestro Bergmann entered this role with a prominent vision to showcase the Calgary Philharmonic on the world stage. In 2017, the Calgary Philharmonic launched its live-stream initiative —... an immersive, digital concert experience for audiences around the world. Fortuitously, this early embrace of digital technology positioned the Calgary Philharmonic to pivot quickly during the pandemic lockdown and continue to reach audiences with new modes of programming.
Past Music Directors of the Calgary Philharmonic include Grammy and Emmy Award-winning conductor Roberto Minczuk from 2006 to 2016; the late Mario Bernardi, who guided the Orchestra from 1984 to 1992 through a period of tremendous artistic growth, including recordings and its first North American tour. From 1995 to 2003, the legendary Hans Graf was Music Director: under his baton, the Calgary Philharmonic became the first Western Canadian orchestra to tour Europe. In June 2006, the Orchestra gave Hans Graf the honourary lifetime title of Music Director Laureate in recognition of his immense contributions.
The Calgary Philharmonic Society is governed by a board of directors. An endowment fund, created to support the long-term operation of the CPO, is managed independently by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation. Now at $41-million, the endowment is one of the largest held by a Canadian orchestra.
For more information, visit calgaryphil.com.