WELLESLEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (WSO) MUSIC DIRECTOR SEARCH FAQS
What is the search timeline?
Candidates should apply by September 30, 2020. Finalists will prepare and conduct a concert in the 2021/2022 concert season. We will appoint the new Music Director in spring 2022. WSO Music Director Search Calendar and Deadlines
What will be the start date and the date of the first concert?
The Music Director will start on June 1 st , 2022. Rehearsals will start in late August or early
September 2022, with the first concert in October 2022.
How many concerts does the Music Direct conduct each season?
In the past, WSO has held six concerts, on Sunday afternoons at 3 pm:
* December -- Holiday Pops Concert
* March – Family Concert , winner of Young Soloist Competition performs
* Late May -- MassBay commencement
Where are the rehearsals and performances?
Rehearsals and concerts are held at MassBay Community College, 50 Oakland Street, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481. Rehearsals have typically been held on Wednesdays from 7:15 - 10 pm from late August through May. Dress rehearsals are usually held from 11 am - 2 pm on the Saturday before each concert, but sometimes are moved to accommodate guest soloist schedules.
Are sectionals held?
Separate wind and string sectionals have typically been held once per concert cycle in place of a full orchestra rehearsal. We have the occasional use of an alternative facility located close to MassBay, and this allows us to have winds and strings sectionals at the same time. In the past, the Assistant Conductor conducted the wind sectionals, and the Music Director conducted the strings. The new Music Director will be able to consider what s/he feels is most appropriate.
Is there flexibility in rehearsal dates/times?
We understand that our Music Director’s circumstances might rarely require rescheduling of rehearsals. Such rescheduling would ordinarily be done well in advance. We expect that the Music Director will give first priority to Wellesley Symphony Orchestra rehearsals and concerts, since rescheduling both the rehearsal/concert venue and our many volunteer and paid musicians on short notice is extremely difficult.
What is the salary?
The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra offers a competitive salary for the Music Director position. Salary will be commensurate with the chosen candidate’s experience.
What is the makeup of the orchestra?
Who is on staff?
We have an orchestra manager who, among other tasks, manages the player roster; stage manages the concerts; works in community relations, marketing and development; acts as librarian; and facilitates communication between the Board and the orchestra. We also have a number of volunteers who donate their time to maintain the website and to provide other critical functions, such as selling tickets, greeting the audience, and helping with post-concert receptions.
Who is the audience?
We have a diverse audience, which includes a substantial number of senior citizens as well as families from the surrounding communities who especially enjoy the December Holiday Pops and the Family concert in March. A primary goal in the near term is to attract more young community members to our concerts and broaden the appeal of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, potentially through programming and enhanced social media marketing.
What is the makeup of the Board?
The Board is currently composed of ten members, six of whom are in the orchestra. The Music Director is invited to the monthly meetings, and typically sits in on most of them.
How is the orchestra governed?
WSO is a 501(c)3 Membership Organization. The Board is elected by the orchestra members every May. The Music Director is appointed by the Board in the first quarter each year.
What is the typical repetoire?
In the 2019-2020 season, the programs included works by Debussy, Elgar, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Schubert, Grieg, Gershwin, Mozart, Dvorak, Gounod, Brahms, Gerber, Khachaturian, Williams, and Mussorgsky. The orchestra played Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven for its 70th anniversary gala in May 2019. Occasionally the orchestra has premiered new works, but commissions and premieres are not a primary focus. The Music Director will have the opportunity to shape and change the repertoire based on his/her vision for the orchestra; however, we have surveyed our orchestra community and confirmed that our players and audience place a high value on traditional orchestral works. That said, we value a variety of works, time periods, and composers, both well-known and lesser-known. Over time, we would like to focus more deliberately on diverse composers.
What kind of community outreach, fundraising, and other events and projects is the Music Director expected to support?
The Board is working on a robust community outreach and fundraising effort. We expect the Music Director to be an active participant at these events if possible, and to help in planning them. In the past we have put on small group introductory concerts at local town libraries, which have featured chamber groups such as brass, strings, and woodwind ensembles, and these players have introduced the orchestra, our instruments, and music to kids and adults alike. The orchestra has also been hired for local events (e.g., Babson College’s 100th anniversary).
What is the current state of the orchestra's finances?
As is true for many/most community arts organizations, the WSO relies heavily on donations to balance the budget. Other than the responsibilities of Music Director, orchestra manager, and Assistant Conductor, all tasks are done by volunteers, and the orchestra is fortunate to have the use of MassBay without paying rent, in exchange for playing for the MassBay commencement in May. The Board has an active Development Committee.
What educational background are we looking for in a Music Director? Must they be conservatory trained or have graduated from a conducting program at conservatory?
Conservatory training is a plus, but not required. Ability to play an orchestral instrument at a high level is also a plus. Knowledge of orchestral instruments and technique is required. We are looking for a Music Director with a strong foundation in orchestral repertoire and a historical perspective for arranging programming that is interesting, engaging and educational.
Will there be an Assistant Conductor?
To be determined.
How many rehearsals are there for each concert?
As mentioned above, weekly rehearsals begin by early September and run through May, with a break around the December holidays/New Year. For each of the October, November, February, March and May concerts, there are around 6 Wednesday night rehearsals plus a dress rehearsal. For the Holiday concert and Family concert, it's fewer (3-4 rehearsals plus a dress rehearsal) .