The Sitka Music Festival is seeking a new Executive Director (ED) who will have overall accountability and responsibility for the management of the organization. Reporting to the SMF Board of Directors, the ED will be instrumental in guiding the organization to achieve the goals set forth in its recent strategic plan; engaging and managing up to three staff members; and serving as a visible representative of SMF to the broader community. S/he will be actively involved in fundraising and will work in collaboration with SMF Artistic Director Zuill Bailey.
The successful candidate will have:
Demonstrated success in fundraising
Proven leadership and management experience preferably in the performing arts or in the nonprofit sector
Strong oral and written communications skills
Demonstrated ability to build and maintain effective relationships with board members, donors, audience members, other external constituents and collaborative partners
Proven financial acumen
A passion for great music and its potential to inspire through performance and education
The successful candidate will be a dynamic and visionary leader with a passion for music and the performing arts. S/he will be a self-starter and possess a high level of initiative, creativity, and energy. The ability to work independently is a must, as well as the ability to work with staff and volunteers to plan and execute a complex program of work. The successful candidate must be willing to be based in Alaska.
The Search Committee is now accepting nominations, inquiries, and applications for the position of Executive Director. This position will remain open until filled by the Board of Directors. Applicant review will begin upon receipt and will continue until the Executive Director is named. Inquiries should be directed to email firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Please visit our website at sitkamusicfestival.org.
Sitka Music Festival/Alaska Classics is an equal opportunity employer.
Additional Salary Information: Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
About Sitka Music Festival
The Sitka Summer Music Festival was founded in 1972 by violinist Paul Rosenthal, a then aspiring artist just completing instruction at the University of Southern California with master violinist Jascha Heifetz. Mr. Rosenthal, a native New Yorker, began playing violin at three. He studied with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School, Ivan Galamian and Josef Gingold prior to coaching with Heifetz.
Rosenthal found Sitka to be perfect for a chamber music festival when he visited the community on tour with the Arctic Chamber Orchestra. He immediately contacted several colleagues from the legendary Piatigorsky/Heifetz Master Classes and invited them to come to Sitka for the first Sitka Summer Music Festival in June 1972. At that time, a handful of people from around Alaska contributed just enough money to buy the musicians one-way tickets to Sitka, and just enough people attended the concerts to raise the money for their return flights. The musicians performed without fee that year in Sitka and have volunteered their talent every year since. To save on expenses, Rosenthal formed an early partnership with Sheldon Jackson College which allowed the artists and their families to live on cam...pus, frequently in Stevenson Hall. Since 1972, over 150 professional classical musicians have performed with the Festival.
In 2011, Rosenthal retired from the Festival. In his four decades as Artistic Director, Paul helped to nurture deep roots across the state: an enthusiastic audience, authentic friendships, and dedicated contributors. Paul carefully chose cellist Zuill Bailey as his successor to continue his tradition of consistently bringing the highest caliber of classical music to Alaska.
In Sitka, the Festival has grown to fill four weeks every June with 24 concerts and events in various locations around town. The summer festival regularly involves over 25 business and community partners, plus nearly 100 volunteers. Every July since 2014, the Festival has hosted the Sitka Cello Seminar, where a group of young pre-professional cellists spend three weeks of intensive study with Zuill Bailey and Dr. Melissa Kraut.
In Anchorage, since the early ‘80s the Sitka Music Festival has presented a concert series in September and February – usually 9 concerts per year. Recently, we’ve added free performances at the Anchorage Museum and regular visits to school orchestras and the Hiland Women’s Prison Orchestra.
Across Alaska, thanks in part to grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Festival musicians travel to at least three other Alaska communities per year. The Festival partners with local arts organizations, schools, or borough governments for these tours. These community visits usually include a school presentation or outreach performance to the elderly and infirm. To date, 42 Alaskan communities from Selawik to Port Alexander have enjoyed professional classical music performances, courtesy of the Sitka Music Festival.
The Sitka Music Festival has purchased Stevenson Hall, on the historic campus of the former Sheldon Jackson College. The path to buying Stevenson Hall began four years ago. The building had been vacant ever since Sheldon Jackson College closed in 2007. When Stevenson went up for sale in 2010, the Festival was not in a position to buy. Fortunately, a friend of the festival stepped forward and bought the building, then held onto it until we could raise the funds. By early 2015, the Festival had raised the first round of funds and secured ownership of the building.
Finding a Home
Throughout the Sitka Music Festival’s history, world-class musicians have come to Sitka to perform throughout the month of June. Through the years, they had been staying at Stevenson Hall, but when Sheldon Jackson College closed in 2007, the Festival was forced to leave its home, and find other accommodations for its artists and staff. The cost of finding lodging for visiting musicians during Sitka’s busy summer visitor season was expensive, and it took away from our mission.
Purchasing and renovating Stevenson Hall gives us a permanent home that will help us improve our mission of providing top-caliber music across the entire state of Alaska. Stevenson Hall will become a year-round center for classical music. Having full control of the building will let us build our educational outreach programs, and host more artists throughout the year. Those programs and artists end up in Anchorage, Kotzebue, Bethel, Unalaska, Juneau, Talkeetna, and more than 30 communities across the state.
In other words, owning Stevenson Hall lets us create a home base to share the music we love with the state we love. The results of buying this one building in Sitka will be heard – quite literally – statewide.
Following the purchase of Stevenson Hall, we immediately embarked on another round of fundraising – in order to renovate and make the thorough improvements that were critical to saving the building and realizing our future vision. When we took ownership, there was no insulation, inadequate heat and electricity, and absolutely no sound proofing – important to our musicians who often rehearse simultaneously. Besides making the building more comfortable and useful to our artists and staff, we want to create a welcoming public space for visitors to enjoy our music and our company. Renovation work began in late 2019 and continues through 2020. We’ve raised over $4 million for this project – but there’s still a little ways to go.