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Music Director



Chicago Opera Theater Mission Statement:

Chicago Opera Theater
expands the tradition of opera as a living art form
by engaging lovers of music and storytelling
through innovative experiences
predominantly of new and rarely performed works.


Chicago Opera Theater Core Values:

Excellence                                                           Originality

Candor                                                                 Respect

Sustainability                                                     Consistency

Job Description:

The Music Director is responsible for the selection and quality of all musical elements of the company’s programming and performance activities.  This includes working closely with the General Director to select repertoire for the mainstage season and any additional events (gala, salons, bonus events) and being the primary leader responsible for all of the company’s conductors, musicians and singers.

The Music Director is tasked with accomplishing the Board-approved mission of the company from a musical perspective, and for providing oversight and accountability of all musical staff and artists throughout the season.  The Music Director will personally conduct at least one opera in each season, and may conduct more as appropriate.

The Music Director reports to the General Director, and is expected to work collaboratively with the General Director, the Board, and the heads of other company departments as requested.  The Music Director is also expected to create and participate in a working environment that is respectful of the staff and artists of Chicago Opera Theater and that inspires creativity and productivity, encourages the role of the Company in the training and development of young artists, and builds an artistic network of relationships that draws artists of high caliber to participate with Company productions and activities. 

The Music Director is evaluated in an annual review by the General Director, who manages the Music Director’s employment agreement and compensation. The Music Director is expected to be a part-time position that allows the Music Director to also conduct or serve as Music Director at other companies simultaneously.  The position will require on-site activities (conducting, casting, public events, oversight) in Chicago, activities in other cities (auditions, travel to see new productions) and regular collaboration that can be on-site or done remotely.

The position is salaried and exempt.


  • Established skill as an opera conductor
  • Breadth of knowledge of different opera periods/styles
  • Experience with new operas and collaboration with living composers
  • Excellent rapport with musicians and singers
  • High discernment in selecting singers for roles and experience providing vocal coaching for singers
  • Experience in managing orchestrations and adjustments/reductions to scores as required
  • Experience in union environments
  • Broad network in the opera industry
  • Ability to be highly responsible, responsive, and collaborative with the company staff and artists, including when working remotely
  • Willingness to represent the company for artistic collaboration, community building, advocacy, and fundraising purposes
  • Multiple language ability preferred in addition to English


  • Master’s Degree preferred; preferably in music, collaborative piano, or equivalent.
  • Experience working in non-profit arts organization is preferred.




  • Select repertoire in collaboration with the General Director, including long-range planning for future seasons.
  • Engage artistic personnel, including conductors, musicians and singers.
  • Oversee all musical preparations for each opera to ensure the artists are fully supported to achieve the highest levels of execution when they arrive.
  • Provide support programming as otherwise scheduled, which may include pre-show discussions at mainstage opera performances, performances or panels at Viewpoints or Opera Underground events, and/or artistic components to the annual Gala or fundraising salons.
  • Provide essential input into the artistic voice and message of the company, which is incorporated into many organizational, marketing and development messages for the company and individual productions.



  • Collaborate continually with the General Director on all issues or decisions that impact other areas of the company, including budgeting, marketing and fundraising.
  • Recruit, hire, and supervise music artists and staff and, when necessary, dismiss ineffective personnel.
  • Mentor music artists and staff to promote the highest level of achievement possible for each person.
  • Provide input to the negotiation of union contracts for musical artists and ensure compliance with these agreements as applicable.
  • Ensure that music decisions and activities are accomplished in a timely manner, per a schedule jointly established with the General Director
  • Participate actively in the fundraising or promotional activities of the Company as requested by the General Director, Director of Development or Director of Marketing.


To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, a resume/CV, and a link to conductor videos to jhulburt@chicagooperatheater.org .


Please submit no later than March 31, 2017.




Questions about Membership or this application? Please contact Vincent Covatto, organizational membership manager, at VCovatto@operaamerica.org or by calling 646.699.5237.
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