ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

Executive Director – The Knights

The Executive Director of The Knights is a strategic, entrepreneurial leader who works in tandem with The Knights’ Artistic Directors and Board of Trustees to provide leadership and drive revenue growth, managing the artistic, human, and financial resources of an ambitious and creative orchestral collective at home in New York City and on tour across the US and abroad.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees and Artistic Directors, the Executive Director oversees an annual budget of approximately $2 million, a concert season of 25-30 performances per year including a new residency at Carnegie Hall, major domestic and international tours, recordings on major labels, and an expanding presence in NYC. Acting as the head of fundraising and strategic planning, the Executive Director is responsible for maximizing both earned and contributed revenue and directing a campaign to ensure organizational sustainability. The Executive Director, with the support and collaboration of the Director of Artistic Operations, will execute the goals and objectives of the Artistic Directors and Artistic Steering Committee. In addition, they will engage with the musicians of the orchestra and collaborate with two full-time staff members, including the Director of Artistic Operations and the Director of Development, two part-time staff members, and participants in the organization’s Arts Administration Internship program. The Executive Director serves as the chief communicator between The Knights and the community, guiding and overseeing all marketing and communications efforts.


The successful candidate will be comfortable and confident in providing leadership to develop and execute comprehensive fundraising plans, including a campaign for organizational sustainability. An excellent knowledge of fiscal management is critical, including the ability to maximize earned income opportunities and increase contributed income. The ideal candidate is energetic, innovative and committed to the musicians and mission of the orchestra. The successful candidate will be knowledgeable about the field of classical music, and is experienced in the management of performing ensembles, budgeting and financial reporting, and marketing in print and on digital platforms. The ideal candidate interacts with collegiality, has an extensive background in building and motivating teams, and exhibits exemplary communication skills. They are flexible and adaptable, willing and able to accommodate and adjust to differing styles of management and communication. The ideal candidate is an adept negotiator; the candidate is accomplished in building patron relations, has a demonstrated track record in fundraising with institutional and individual donors, and brings an established network of contacts throughout the field. Previous experience in the New York City performing arts community, while not essential, is important. The ideal candidate is proficient in Microsoft Office, Google Suite, Quickbooks, and Patron Manager or other fundraising software.

Qualified applicants will have undergraduate and post-graduate degrees as well as 10-15 years of relevant experience in increasingly senior-level positions.

This is a full-time exempt position based in New York City. The Knights’ administrative office is located in downtown Brooklyn. Evening and weekend hours may be required based on the schedule of concerts and events, which comprise approximately 12-15 weeks annually.


Institutional Strategy

  • In collaboration with the Board, Artistic Directors, staff and musicians, lead organization in short- and long-term planning
  • Articulate and implement organization’s strategic vision and organizational goals

Fundraising and Revenue Enhancement

  • Build on existing individual and institutional relationships and develop new ones
  • Develop and implement fundraising strategies and proposals for support from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies
  • Plan and execute a new campaign for sustainability of the orchestra and support for artistic growth

Board Relations

  • Apprise Board of all matters within the Executive Director’s scope of responsibility
  • Attend all meetings of the Board and committees and prepare and present reports as required
  • Assist in governance, development, and recruitment of new Board members


In collaboration with the Director of Artistic Operations, oversee:

  • Budgets and financial reports under guidance of the Treasurer of the Board
  • Day-to-day accounting and cash flow
  • Internal controls and collaborate with auditor in preparation of all tax filings
  • Payroll and timely payment of invoices
  • Necessary insurance policies, including general liability insurance, directors and officers’ insurance, workers compensation, disability and other legal requirements as necessary
  • Negotiation of all contracts with managing agents, booking representatives, presenters, and collaborating artists and composers


  • Work with Artistic Directors, Director of Artistic Operations, staff, musician Artistic Steering Committee, and Opus 3 Artists to plan artistically and financially well-balanced concert seasons, including NYC projects and tours
  • Create and communicate project budgets that meet artistic needs in context of Board-approved operating budget
  • Engage member musicians in the leadership of the organization through committee and project work, as well as regular meetings and open communication
  • Attend all concerts and events in NYC and key engagements on tour; build relationships with presenters
  • Oversee Director of Development in creating program materials
  • Oversee Director of Artistic Operations in production and tour planning
  • With Artistic Directors and Artistic Steering Committee, execute recording and digital media strategy to create and distribute traditional and unconventional recordings that promote the mission of The Knights
  • Maintain a regular presence in the office when not attending offsite meetings and appointments

Marketing and PR

  • Maintain The Knights’ brand consistently in all print and digital publications
  • Create and oversee public relations strategy in collaboration with Unison Media
  • Oversee Grants & Communications Coordinator and all creative partners in the creation of marketing and engagement strategies and print and digital content to promote Knights activities in NYC and worldwide


The salary range for this position is $110,000 – $135,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Knights offer a benefits package including health, dental, and vision insurance, and have a generous paid time off policy including paid holidays, sick leave, and vacation days.


Please send resume and cover letter before October 15, 2023 to with the subject heading “Executive Director.”

The Knights are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


The Knights are a collective of adventurous musicians dedicated to transforming the orchestral experience and eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Driven by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they inspire listeners with vibrant programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. The orchestra has toured and recorded with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and has appeared across the world’s most prestigious stages, including those at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Ravinia, The Kennedy Center, and the Vienna Musikverein.

The Knights evolved from late-night chamber music reading parties with friends at the home of violinist Colin Jacobsen and cellist Eric Jacobsen. The Jacobsen brothers, who are also founding members of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, serve as artistic directors of The Knights, with Eric Jacobsen as conductor. Since incorporating in 2007, the orchestra has toured consistently across the United States and Europe.

The Knights seek to share music with a broad general public regardless of background, and the group designs programs to appeal to both loyal followers and new listeners alike. The Knights perform in traditional concert halls as well as in parks, plazas, and bars, and create unusual and adventurous partnerships across disciplines. Counted among recent highlights are fully-staged performances of Bernstein’s Candide at both Tanglewood and Ravinia; the release of a recording of the Brahms and Beethoven Violin Concertos with Gil Shaham; and a full 2021 summer season in a reawakened New York City, with performances at Central Parks’ Naumburg Bandshell, Bryant Park, Governors Island, and Green-Wood Cemetery.

The orchestra seeks out and prioritizes collaborative partnerships with artists often underrepresented in classical music. Recent seasons have included performances with Brooklyn-based Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra, with African musicians as part of William Kentridge’s The Head and the Load, and with a diverse group of contemporary composers and performers including Vijay Iyer, Kinan Azmeh, Angélica Negrón, and Jessie Montgomery, among others.

After a whirlwind eleven-stop European tour with violinist Ray Chen, The Knights look forward to making music closer to home this summer, with familiar friends and new collaborators: in June with Natalie Merchant at Lincoln Center and Chris Thile at Tanglewood; with Pekka Kuusisto at Caramoor in July; and performances at Bryant Park, Wethersfield, and the Newport Classical Music Festival. Artistic collaborators in the 2022-23 season have included GRAMMY-winning countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, violinist Ray Chen, and genre-shattering pianist/composer Aaron Diehl, with whom The Knights will release an album of Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite in September 2023.

The Knights are proud to share a three-concert series presented by Carnegie Hall for the upcoming 2023-24 season. Programs include new works commissioned as part of the Rhapsody project, a multi-year initiative inspired by the 2024 centennial of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The Knights’ Carnegie Hall concerts in 2023-24 will feature Chris Thile, Wu Man, Magos Herrera, and Jeffrey Kahane, among other esteemed collaborators.

The Knights are proud to be known as “one of Brooklyn’s sterling cultural products…known far beyond the borough for their relaxed virtuosity and expansive repertory” (The New Yorker). Their roster boasts musicians of remarkably diverse talents, including composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers, who bring a range of cultural influences to the group, from jazz and klezmer to pop and indie rock music. The unique camaraderie within the group retains the intimacy and spontaneity of chamber music in performance. Through the palpable joy and friendship in their music-making, each musician strives to include new and familiar audiences to experience this important art form.

Learn more at


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