Executive Director, The Washington Chorus

The Washington Chorus
Washington, DC
Type of Position: 
Application Deadline: 
Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Washington Chorus, a well-recognized leader in choral music in our nation’s capital, invites nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director.  Internationally acclaimed conductor Christopher Bell has just completed his first season as Artistic Director, and the Chorus is about to begin its 58th Season.


The Organization



The Washington Chorus (TWC) is a 180-voice ensemble celebrated for performances and recordings of the entire range of choral repertoire.  A three-time nominated and two-time Grammy Award-winner, TWC is widely acknowledged as a musical and cultural leader in the Washington metro region.  The Chorus is firmly committed to its mission to “preserve and advance the art of choral singing and share the experience of the transforming power of choral music.”  TWC strives to perform at the highest artistic level before diverse national and international audiences, and to nurture the next generation of choral singers.


One of the country’s finest volunteer choruses, The Washington Chorus has a proud history of distinguished artistic leadership.  Christopher Bell’s appointment as TWC’s fourth conductor and artistic director was met with resounding praise and enthusiasm from DC’s community of professional and volunteer musicians and audiences alike.  Bell succeeds Julian Wachner, whose ten-year tenure introduced the Chorus and its audiences to repertoire and authentic performance practices from Bach to Paola Prestini, and included a memorable 2015 performance at Carnegie Hall of Turbae ad Passionem Gregorianam by Alberto Ginastera.  Wachner followed Robert Shafer, whose 35-year leadership established TWC’s excellent artistic reputation and earned TWC the right to add “award-winning” to its name.  TWC was founded by physician and musician Hugh Hayward as the Oratorio Society of Montgomery County, the first area chorus to be fully independent of a church or college.


The Washington Chorus presents an annual subscription series at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Music Center at Strathmore, and other major venues throughout the Washington metro area.  This season, TWC was proud to be part of the Kennedy Center’s first Direct/Current festival celebrating contemporary culture.  TWC headlined a performance entitled Madrigals Meet Minimalism, staged beneath the heart of Washington in the Dupont Underground with DJ Justin Reed, and worked directly with legendary composer Philip Glass on a landmark performance of his cult film Koyaanisqatsi.   The Chorus’ 2018/2019 Season will include Brahms’ Requiem, Britten’s Ballad of Heroes, Duruflé’s Requiem, and MacMillan’s Cantos Sagrados.  In addition, The Washington Chorus will present the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s Arctica, a co-commission by the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Geographic Society. TWC’s “Candlelight Christmas” concerts at the Kennedy Center and across the Washington area draw more than 10,000 concertgoers annually and have become a highlight of the DC holiday season. 


The Washington Chorus has appeared at the invitation of leading orchestras and has sung with the NSO in more than 250 performances, under the direction of many of the world’s greatest conductors, including the NSO’s new Music Director, Gianandrea Noseda.


As a leader in its commitment to community, the Chorus offers a variety of educational programs, including the Junior Washington Chorus for teens ages 16–18, and the Side-by-Side High School Program now in its 27th year.  The Washington Chorus entered into a unique partnership with the DC Public School system to create its first Honor Chorus program for talented student choral singers from the city’s public schools.  TWC’s Outreach Singers bring free concerts for groups who may not be able to attend concerts in the traditional concert hall setting.


The Washington Chorus is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees.  The Executive Director manages an administrative staff of four full-time employees and an operating budget of $1.5M.  The organization is currently under the interim leadership of Rita Shapiro, former Executive Director of the National Symphony Orchestra.  


The Opportunity


The next Executive Director will take the helm of a vibrant organization well-positioned for strategic growth with the inspired leadership of Artistic Director Christopher Bell.  The next Executive Director will have the opportunity to partner with an active and engaged Board and the Artistic Director in strengthening TWC’s ties to the greater Washington community through programming, education programs, and creative collaborations.   The Executive Director will be welcomed by a community of choral singers who contribute not only their musical talents but provide support in a myriad of important ways, including financial.   TWC’s stakeholders will expect the next Executive Director to be bold, creative, energetic, and collaborative as together they develop an exciting future for The Washington Chorus.


The Position


The Executive Director provides leadership and vision to ensure that The Washington Chorus achieves its mission and meets its goals for artistic success, financial sustainability, education, and community engagement.  S/he is responsible and accountable for all aspects of TWC’s business and artistic administration, financial management, and operations.  The Executive Director fosters a positive environment that allows the TWC’s Artistic Director and chorus members to do their best work.  The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees through the Chair and is an ex officio member of the Board.  


The Executive Director takes a leading role in fundraising, including the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of individual and institutional donors.  S/he provides guidance and impetus to fundraising efforts of the Board.  S/he ensures that TWC increases its donor base and achieves or exceeds its annual and long-term goals for contributed income.


The Executive Director is a partner with the Artistic Director in designing programs, special initiatives, and performance opportunities that enhance the reach and reputation of TWC.  S/he actively seeks performance opportunities for TWC throughout the greater Washington area.  S/he develops program budgets and engages the orchestra, soloists, and other guest performers.  S/he maintains positive working relationships with the management teams in at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Music Center at Strathmore, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and other concert venues.

The Executive Director works with the Chairman to identify and recruit volunteer leadership for the Chorus’ Board of Trustees and committees.  S/he oversees the development and implementation of the annual operating budget.  S/he monitors performance against budget, makes corrections as needed, and provides regular financial reports to the Board of Trustees.


The Executive Director provides leadership for the marketing efforts of the organization. S/he ensures that The Washington Chorus brand is recognized and respected throughout the region and the national choral community.  S/he ensures that TWC meets or exceeds goals for audience development, attendance, and earned income. The Executive Director is the chief spokesperson and representative for TWC with all external audiences.  The Executive Director is an active and visible participant in the cultural life of Washington and the national capital region.


Candidate Profile


The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader and strategic thinker who combines passion and creativity with a thorough knowledge and understanding of symphonic choral music. S/he will have a strong record of success in all areas of operations, including fundraising, artistic administration, audience development, marketing, finance, staff management, and community engagement.   S/he will have successful experience working with an artistic director and other creative artists in designing and producing concerts.


The successful candidate will be an effective and enthusiastic fundraiser.  S/he will have superb public presentation skills and a record of success in generating financial support for on-going programs, educational activities, special projects, and endowment. S/he will have strong entrepreneurial instincts.   Familiarity with the Washington, DC, philanthropic community will be considered an asset.


The successful candidate will have excellent interpersonal skills and a special passion for sharing music with the public.  S/he will have a demonstrated record of success in retaining and building audiences for a diverse offering of concerts.  S/he will be experienced in collaborating with a wide network of partners and in presenting concerts in multiple venues.


The successful candidate will be an experienced executive with excellent planning, organizational, communications, financial, and leadership skills.  S/he will be skilled in recruiting and working effectively with volunteers. S/he will have the ability to lead, inspire, and motivate staff in an environment that fosters creativity, a commitment to excellence, teamwork, and mutual respect. S/he will welcome the opportunity to work with the volunteer singers who dedicate their time, energy, and resources to TWC.


The successful candidate will be a person of high energy with the willingness and ability to maintain a schedule that includes evening and weekend rehearsals and performances.  S/he will be a person of integrity, maturity, and sound judgment with a healthy sense of humor.   The successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to serve at the helm of one of the nation’s leading choral organizations and to be a full participant in the life of the Washington community.


Compensation and Benefits: 

Compensation and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Application Procedure: 

Please send a letter that describes your specific interest in The Washington Chorus and outlines your qualifications for the position.  Include a resume, salary requirements/expectations, and the names of three references.  All applications will be considered confidential and references will not be contacted without the applicant’s prior agreement.


Electronic submissions are requested. Please send to:


The Washington Chorus – Executive Director Search

c/o Catherine French Group

2500 Q Street, NW, Suite 623

Washington, DC 20007




MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only, please.

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