ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

Executive Director, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra

Cultural Management Consultants


Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra (FMSO) invites applications and recommendations for the full-time position of Executive Director.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director, working in partnership with Music Director Christopher Zimmerman, is responsible for managing the human and financial resources of the FMSO to achieve the orchestra’s mission and artistic goals. The annual budget is approximately $850,000.

The Executive Director is the primary leader in strategic and financial planning, marketing, fund-raising, and building relationships with individuals and organizations in the community.

Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra

Chartered in 1931, the FMSO is a professional ensemble of 72 musicians, primarily faculty members of three local colleges and schools, all of whom are paid for all rehearsals and performances. The orchestra performs five pairs of subscription concerts in the Festival Concert Hall (997 seats) in the Reineke Fine Center on the campus of North Dakota State University. The FMSO serves an annual audience of approximately 20,000, with its array of Masterworks, chamber “Fun-Size” concerts, pops holiday and family concerts, and the annual “Symphony Rocks” at an outdoor venue, as well as serving a wider listening audience through rebroadcasts of its concerts over Minnesota and North Dakota Public Radio stations.

With its long-standing tradition of presenting high quality live performances, the FMSO aspires to continue to be a cultural leader which exemplifies musical excellence and advocates for the arts in its community.

Music Director Christopher Zimmerman

Maestro Zimmerman has served as Music Director of the FMSO since 2013, also serving as music director of the Fairfax (Virginia) Symphony Orchestra.

He was the winner of the American Conducting Prize in 2011. His debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was followed by engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has since conducted orchestral and opera performances all over the world.

A graduate of Yale with a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, Mr. Zimmerman also studied with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood and at the Pierre Monteux School. He served as an apprentice under Sir Andrew Davis at the Toronto Symphony and as assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann at the Czech Philharmonic. He is a much sought after clinician and teacher and has held faculty and music director positions at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and at the Hartt School.

The Community:

Located approximately 250 miles northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul on the Minnesota-North Dakota border, Fargo-Moorhead is located in the Red River Valley. It is a regional center for cultural, educational, transportation, financial, retail, and medical services. A vibrant community with a metropolitan population of 250,000, including a student population of over 25,000, attending one of the three institutions of higher education. Fargo-Moorhead has been named an “All-American City” in recognition of its strong educational opportunities, premier health care facilities, progressive business environment, and rich arts and cultural climate.

It has a booming technology start-up industry that harnesses the spirit of the early pioneers and has become one of the top places in the United States to flock to for young entrepreneurs.

The Position:

The Executive Director has overall oversight of all administrative and concert production operations including strategic planning, fund-raising, artistic administration, marketing, and board development.

The artistic and administrative staff teams include a development director, office manager, business manager, musician payroll manager, personnel manager, music librarian, concertmaster, marketing manager, and development assistant.

We seek an energetic leader who will build on the company’s solid foundation and reputation while attracting ever greater public support. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to classical music, excellent artistic standards, and community/educational institution partnerships. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of effective leadership, fiscal responsibility, strategic planning, and fund-raising.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree (or higher) in a music-related field or not for profit management.
  • Prior experience in arts administration, knowledge of the classical music repertoire, and general knowledge of not-for-profit arts revenue generation (subscription and single ticket sales, all aspects of fund-raising), strategic and operating planning, budget development, office administration, board relations and governance, information systems, and human resource management.
  • Working knowledge of financial, web-based computer, and customer relationship management systems.
  • The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills, inspire enthusiasm, and be comfortable as the “Networker-in-Chief” public face” for the company. The successful candidate must have a background and understanding of symphonic music. Applications from qualified Canadians would be welcomed.


This is a full-time position; the successful candidate is expected to relocate to the Fargo-Moorhead area. The full-time (exempt) salary range is $85,000 to $95,000 with a benefits package. Relocation expenses negotiable.

Application Process:

Interested candidates are invited to submit a letter of interest, resume and a contact list of professional references in confidence to:

Margaret Genovese
Senior Partner
Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates

For additional information: http://www.fmso.org

Deadline for Applications: Monday, 9 September 2024

Equal Employment Opportunity: It is the policy of the Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra to afford equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of race, creed, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, veteran status, disability, medical condition, gender identity or sexual orientation.


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