Executive Director

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic welcomes nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director, available in early 2021. 

The Organization

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (CJP) is America’s definitive “third stream” musical ensemble and is dedicated to promoting, preserving, and re-envisioning the merging of jazz and classical traditions. Chicago Jazz Philharmonic presents third stream music as a way to bridge communities, educate the next generation of musicians, encourage cross-cultural dialogue, and expand creative practice. Born out of a commission from the Jazz Institute of Chicago, CJP was co-founded by Emmy-Award winning trumpeter, composer, and educator Orbert Davis and Emmy-Award winning producer Mark Ingram in 2004.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s founders describe it as an education organization that “grew an orchestra arm.” This unique development ensures that education is at the core of CJP's mission and programs, serving students of all ages and levels. CJP’s Jazz Alive Program serves Chicago’s K-12 school students and focuses on performance and improvisation as well as teamwork, self-motivation, communication, self-expression, and entrepreneurship. Programs include Music Discovery, Jazz Band, Jazz Choir, Drum Line, string ensembles, guitar, and hand chimes. CJP’s Jazz Academy is an in-school weekly program, a Saturday programming, and a two-week intensive summer camp that brings together students from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Jazz Alive, now the center of CJP’s educational initiatives, reflects a deep commitment to the arts and how the arts have an impact on the lives of individuals, diversifies the culture of a community, and defines the fabric of a city.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s ensembles range in size from a double quintet to a full 60-piece orchestra. They perform in jazz clubs, orchestra halls, and community spaces, including the 3,900-seat Auditorium Theatre and Chicago’s celebrated Millennium Park. CJP continually seeks new cross-genre collaborations in order to emphasize qualities of innovation and diversity in third stream music and has collaborated with more than 40 featured guest artists. CJP’s extraordinary achievements were recognized in 2016 with the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. CJP’s first recorded album was released in 2009 and the ensemble continues to record frequently.

CJP’s Collective Creativity program is a one-of-a-kind professional development workshop cultivating new leadership skills for professionals of all levels in the workplace through music and kinesthetic learning.

Through its International Residency Program, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic partners with national and international resident orchestras and jazz ensembles at the university and/or professional level in a series of workshops and rehearsals that culminate in a performance. CJP’s partnerships have included ensembles and organizations in Louisville, KY (2009 and 2020), Poland (2009 and 2014), Cuba (2014), and Bulgaria (2016).

Like performing arts and arts education organizations across the country, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is finding creative ways to engage with its constituents during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Jazz Alive music education program continues on a remote learning platform where CJP teaching faculty continue to work with students through established partnerships with Chicago Public Schools. In January of 2021, the Saturday Jazz Academy will launch its Student Leadership Council as well as a new monthly international masterclass in improvisation for high school students in four different countries. A collaboration is underway with Governors State University in May of 2021, and planning is well underway for the third iteration of the Chicago Immigrant Stories series, which will involve digital engagement and live stream performances featuring musicians from Ukraine, Japan, and Brazil in June of 2021.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is governed by a ten-member Board of Directors and has had an operating an annual operating budget of about $1 million, which has now been reduced by about 30% due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Orbert Davis is Artistic Director and Mark Ingram is Producing Director; former Executive Director Birdie Soti stepped down in the summer of 2020. Lauren Deutsch, former Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, is currently serving as Interim Executive Director and leads a staff of three. CJP has a faculty of sixteen professional musician-educators.

The Opportunity
The next Executive Director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic will join the organization at an exciting and pivotal moment in its history. Working in close collaboration with the CJP staff, Board and Co-Founders Orbert Davis and Mark Ingram, the Executive Director will guide the development of a new strategic plan that sets goals for the expansion of both performance and educational programming in Chicago and on tour. They will have the responsibility to navigate the organization’s current response to the pandemic. More important, they will have the opportunity to define a “new normal” operating model that allows CJP to achieve its mission in a post-Covid environment where creativity, collaboration, and flexibility will be more important than ever.

The Position
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director works in tandem with the staff, and co-founding Artistic Director and Producing Director to ensure that Chicago Jazz Philharmonic realizes its vision, fulfills its mission, and achieves it goals for artistic, financial, and organizational success. The Executive Director manages the organization’s human and financial resources, and is responsible and accountable for all aspects of CJP’s operations, program development and administration, fund raising, institutional marketing, and business management.

The Artistic Director, the Producing Director, and the Executive Director form a leadership triumvirate for Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and each brings unique strengths and skills to organization. The Executive Director fosters and maintains an environment that supports creativity and allows the Artistic Director and the Producing Director to do their best work. Together they develop partnerships, programs, and collaborations that advance the mission of CJP while providing the best possible musical and educational experience for musicians and audiences of all ages. The Executive Director, with the General Manager, develops, implements, and monitors operating and program budgets, monitors cash flow, and ensures compliance with grant requirements. The Executive Director is the organization’s chief fundraiser.

The Executive Director provides guidance, impetus, and support to the fundraising efforts of the Board. The Executive Director establishes and maintains productive relationships with individuals, foundations, corporate sponsors, and local civic funders to ensure that CJP achieves or exceeds its contributed income goals from all sources. The Executive Director works closely with the Board Chair to identify and recruit board members, to ensure effective governance, and create continuity of leadership for the organization. The Executive Director provides staff support to the Board and its committees and ensures that the Board has the timely and accurate information it needs for decision-making.

The Executive Director recruits, motivates, supervises, evaluates, and provides leadership to a high caliber administrative staff in an organization that values teamwork, is committed to transparency, welcomes new ideas, and encourages personal development.

The Executive Director serves as the public representative and spokesperson for CJP with external and internal stakeholders, including students, families, local and national arts leaders, and funders in Chicago, nationally, and internationally. The Executive Director develops and promotes the CJP brand throughout the greater Chicago metropolitan area and beyond in order to increase public awareness of CJP programs and build audiences for CJP concerts. The Executive Director is a passionate and articulate advocate for the value and importance of third stream music in music education and professional performance.

Candidate Profile
The ideal candidate will be a seasoned executive leader with a passion for and thorough working knowledge of jazz and classical music; a proven record of success in fundraising, program management, and audience development; and the demonstrated ability to work effectively with creative talent. The ideal candidate will have a deep respect for the vision of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and both the desire and the ability to advance that vision in the years ahead.

The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker and skilled decision-maker with a big-picture view and the ability to evaluate options and achieve positive outcomes. The candidate will have experience working with diverse stakeholders to reach consensus about organizational goals, priorities, and strategies. The candidate will bring a personal commitment to ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the organization.

The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic fundraiser who brings a track record of success in fundraising from both individual and institutional donors. The candidate will have the ability to build and maintain relationships with donors, to solicit funds effectively, and to provide excellent stewardship for all gifts.

The successful candidate will have senior-level experience in organizational management, including programs, human resources, finances, systems, and infrastructure. The candidate will have strong fiscal management, oversight, and budgeting skills. The candidate will be a team builder with successful experience coaching, motivating, and mentoring staff.

The successful candidate will have excellent communication skills. The candidate will have the ability to speak and write persuasively about the value and importance of all music and about third-stream music in particular. The candidate will be an articulate advocate for music education not only for K-12 but for life-long learning.

The successful candidate will be creative, innovative, flexible, and unflappable. The candidate will be able to handle multiple deadlines and competing priorities with grace and good humor. The successful candidate will bring a mastery of technical management skills with the ability to improvise as needed. The candidate will be a person of integrity and high ethical standards. The successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to join Chicago Jazz Philharmonic as a major contributor to the greater Chicago community while building CJP’s presence worldwide.

Compensation, in the range of $75,000 - $90,000, will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. In addition, the Executive Director will have full access to employee benefits.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes recommendations, nominations, and applications from all qualified candidates.

Please submit a cover letter that describes your specific interest in Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and your qualifications for the position. Kindly send with a resume and salary expectations. Please also include the names of several references. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the applicant’s agreement. Electronic submissions are requested.

Please send materials to:
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic – Executive Director
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street, NW, Suite 623
Washington, DC 20007
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MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only, please