Box Office

Search for New President & Artistic Director

The Board of Directors seeks a gifted arts visionary with strong managerial skills, to:
orchestrate compelling musical events delivered by a stellar array of national and international talent, compel audience engagement, expand education, and ensure that the organization remains fiscally and operationally strong.

Founded in 1954, the Philharmonic Society has been a primary catalyst for cultural growth in Orange County. From its early days presenting concerts in Santa Ana High School’s gymnasium to its current role as a presenter of world-class musical events at the state-of-the-art concert hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Philharmonic Society has been a leader in the nurturing and development of culture in Orange County. For more than 60 years, the Philharmonic Society has presented artists representing the highest possible standards, including such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Simon Rattle, Yuja Wang, Renée Fleming, Lang Lang, and Cecilia Bartoli, to name just a few. Many of the world’s greatest orchestras, chamber groups and choral ensembles have performed in Orange County by invitation of the Philharmonic Society including the Vienna Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the London Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Juilliard String Quartet, the Tokyo String Quartet and the Kronos Quartet, among dozens of others.

In addition to its classical presentations, the Philharmonic Society has a strong commitment to new and multidisciplinary presentations. As part of its Eclectic Orange festival and series, the Philharmonic Society has presented major projects and artists including the Mark Morris Dance Group, Osvaldo Golijov’s Pasíon según San Marcos, Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, Jake Shimabukuro, and Kodo, among many others. Each year, the Philharmonic Society partners with Laguna Beach Live! to co-present the Laguna Beach Music Festival in February at the Laguna Playhouse.

Sharing the love of music with others, and helping all community members deepen their appreciation and enjoyment of music is a cornerstone commitment of the Society. Over the past 60-plus years, millions of children have encountered classical music (many for the first time) through Philharmonic Society’s youth music programs. Various programs are provided free of charge to schools in all 27 of the County’s school districts, with two-thirds of students served in Title I schools. During the 2016-17 season, the Philharmonic Society’s youth music programs reached 162,000 K-12 students. The Society’s Orange County Youth Symphony celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019-20, and is directed by Daniel Alfred Wachs. This longstanding program provides orchestral training to middle and high school students throughout the County, offering up and coming talent performance opportunities at the Segerstrom Center, Chapman University’s Musco Center for the Arts, and Irvine Barclay Theatre, among other leading venues.

The Committees of the Philharmonic Society are the Society’s principal volunteer and a major fundraising force dedicated to the youth music programs. They are an energetic group of approximately 800 volunteers, and, together with the Philharmonic Society’s education staff, they create and produce the youth music programs. The Committees also present a wide variety of fundraising events, including the annual Philharmonic House of Design and the Huntington Harbour Cruise of Lights®.

With a current budget of $5.2 million (comprised of 66% contributed revenue and 34% earned revenue), the Philharmonic Society is supported by an engaged 25 member Board of Directors and 15 committed staff members. 35,000 patrons annually attend Philharmonic Society concerts and musical events from across Orange County, the state of California, and the country. The Philharmonic Society launched its first-ever endowment campaign, Philharmonic Forward, in 2015 with a goal of raising $10 million to put a strong financial foundation underneath their activities. After two and a half years, they have secured more than $16 million in cash, pledges, and legacy commitments, with major campaign prospects still outstanding. The goal is to complete the campaign by the end of the 2018-19 season.

The President and Artistic Director reports directly to the Board of Directors and oversees both the artistic and operational sides of the organization. Currently, there are 6 direct reports including the Vice President of Development, Vice President Marketing and Public Relations, Vice President of Education, Director of Finance, Director of Volunteer Services, and Production Coordinator.

The President and Artistic Director will oversee all Philharmonic Society programming and day-to-day operational activities, provide financial leadership, develop and maintain strong donor relations, and work closely with The Board of Directors to advance the Philharmonic Society’s strategic organizational goals.

The President is expected to work closely with the staff to ensure that the organization:
  • Develops the recognition of the Philharmonic Society as a premier stop on any national or international tour by top soloists/orchestras/ensembles;
  • Expands music education experiences to meet the needs and interests of today’s concert attendees, students, parents and teachers;
  • Retains current audience constituencies and promotes thoughtful growth by utilizing the power of new technologies, including social and digital media. Builds a new and diverse generation of supporters;
  • Strengthens the organization financially and operationally by stewarding a growing development function, diversifying earned income opportunities, and completing a $25 million endowment campaign that will sustain the organization into the future;
  • Invests in and commissions new musical work that pushes the boundaries of innovation.

    The President’s immediate priorities will be to:
  • Understand all facets of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, including the organization’s history, culture, staff, finances, programming schedule, education and public programs, rental facilities and infrastructure, operations, endowment and annual campaign; understand the diverse local and regional constituencies in the Orange County, California, community;
  • Manage the business affairs of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, including cash flow and expense management, with the intent of supporting the mission and goals while achieving greater financial growth, funding diversity and supporting permanent sustainability;
  • Review the current status of the organization’s mainstage season and education programming, and take charge of in-process work related to current and planned events, performances and school programming;
  • Develop an artistic vision of programs and presentations that can be administered within appropriate budgetary constraints, and that will inform, attract and engage the interest of a diverse Orange County public while also securing recognition nationally and internationally;
  • Serve as the chief fundraiser and marketer for the organization; work closely with the staff, Board, and advisors to expand and diversify revenue streams; work with the Board and staff to complete the fundraising for the annual and endowment campaign;
  • Build on the organization’s strong reputation by continuing to cultivate relationships with existing and new key stakeholders in the community in order to enhance and develop support for programs, including partnership opportunities with other national and international arts, educational and cultural institutions;
  • Hire, supervise, motivate, develop and evaluate staff, ensuring that staffing is appropriate to meet the organization’s goals; ensure that approved policies are consistently implemented;
  • Work with the staff to understand their contributions, strengths and concerns; instill a strong sense of partnership and cohesion across the organization; use open channels of communication to reinforce a culture of excellence toward achieving the highest standards of performing arts practice;
  • Work with the Board to update long-range strategic planning and implement Philharmonic Society’s shared values, mission and vision;
  • Work in concert with the Board to articulate its role and fulfill its governance responsibilities; help build strong relationships among Board, staff, volunteers, donors and subscribers; identify and suggest new Board members whose talents, interests and commitment will help to further Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s mission, and will help to expand funding opportunities;
  • Join other arts leaders in the region to advocate for increasing public support of a growing regional arts culture and community that has gained national prominence.

    The ideal candidate has the following experience and qualifications:
  • Arts professional with management experience in a performing arts organization known for innovative programming, artistic excellence, and strong ties with the community; an extensive background in or passion for classical music, performing arts and educational & public programming would be an advantage; knowledge of current trends and developments in the performing arts and music;
  • The ability to work successfully with donors, community leaders, performing artists, educators and the organization’s Board of Directors to strengthen the Society; measurable and successful results in selling tickets and raising funds and in identifying, cultivating and soliciting donors and other sources of revenue and in managing change;
  • A detailed understanding of operations and financial management and ability to analyze financial reports and develop and monitor realistic budgets. Experience in a performing arts organization or similar environment, would be an advantage;
  • Experience working with musicians, orchestras, conductors, educators and others as active and valued collaborators; demonstrated ability to forge mutually respectful and effective relationships with a diverse group of personalities to deliver exceptional performing arts experiences to the public; an individual with a passion for connecting the public with the performing arts, who will enjoy connecting members of Orange County and surrounding communities, as well as visitors to the region, to the Philharmonic Society of Orange County;
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the means to address issues in non-confrontational and non-polarizing ways, but nevertheless with determination; a track record as an effective advocate for his or her organization;
  • A leader adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing and following through; a hard worker with a high energy level who welcomes accountability; a good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources;
  • Someone who imparts trust, integrity and solidity and guides others in a similar vein; an ability to disagree without being disagreeable; a team player and team builder; someone who enjoys working in close collaboration with staff, Board and community members; able to connect with a broad spectrum of constituents; a person with a sense of humor and perspective.

  • For more information please contact:

    Lee Kappelman
    (202) 803-6674 or

    Mark Oppenheim
    (415) 762-2640 or

    m/Oppenheim Associates
    425 Market Street, Suite 1020
    San Francisco, CA 94105