Executive Director, Quad City Symphony Orcestra

Location: Davenport, IA
  • July 18, 2017

Its founding in 1915 places the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) among the twenty longest-established, continuously operating orchestral associations in the United States.  The QCSO provides community service and programs to a market of more than 450,000 residents of western Illinois and eastern Iowa, staging performances in both Illinois and Iowa.  Each season the QCSO presents a Masterworks concert series led by Music Director Mark Russell Smith, as well as the intimate and versatile Signature Series, and educational programs reaching 12,000 students annually. 

In 1958 the QCSO founded the Quad City Youth Symphony and has later added four additional training ensembles.  The QCSO remains fully committed to providing the highest quality of instrumental music education possible for the area.  

The Organization:

The mission of the QCSO is to inspire, entertain, and engage the Quad City community through superb symphonic music, music education, and cultural leadership. The QCSO presents 17 professional performances each year, including symphonic, chamber, and pops concerts, and maintains four youth ensembles and a number of educational and outreach programs.

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra has demonstrated steady artistic growth measured by the depth of the repertoire performed.  Iowa and Illinois subscribers to QCSO performances are residents of more than 70 cities and towns.  The orchestra consists of an average of 86 players contracted on a per-service basis and recruited from a wide region.   The QCSO employs 12 full- and part-time staff and has an annual operating budget of approximately $2.3 million.

The current Music Director and Conductor, Mark Russell Smith, enjoys an international reputation as a guest conductor that has brought him engagements and re-engagements with such organizations as the St. Louis and Houston Symphonies, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Claus Adam, and of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Otto-Werner Mueller.

The QCSO enjoys collaborative relationships with the music departments of the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, St. Ambrose University (Davenport), Augustana College (Rock Island), and Western Illinois University.   It is a founding member of the League of American Orchestras.

Annual support from the QCSO Trust contributes to the stability of the QCSO fiscal operations.  In addition, the QCSO Volunteers for Symphony (VFS) has been recognized by the League of American Orchestras for its role in fund-raising projects to support QCSO activities.

The Community:

The Quad Cities metropolitan area is located along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.  The “Quad” cities are Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa and Rock Island and Moline, Illinois.

The region is the home to Fortune 500 corporation Deere & Company, and has major operations for 3M,Arconic (formerly Alcoa).  The Rock Island Arsenal, a major military installation, is also based in the immediate vicinity.  The area has a robust and growing economy.  There are 40 colleges and universities within a 90-mile radius of the Quad Cities.

See www.visitquadcities.com to learn more about this beautiful region committed to education, art, and culture as well as offering a host of outdoor activities from winter skiing to summer sailing.


The Position:

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra seeks an Executive Director to manage the staff and financial resources in order to achieve the QCSO’s mission.  Responsibilities include revenue enhancement and fund-raising, strategic planning and action implementation, governance and financial management, and institutional growth and branding.

Reporting to the President of the Board, the Executive Director serves as the senior executive responsible for association operations and, as such, is responsible for financial planning and human resources; marketing and fundraising activities; and education and community relations.  The Executive Director leads a staff of fifteen, which includes the directors of marketing, development, finance, and education/community engagement, as well as the office manager, box office manager, and the general manager of the youth orchestra.  The Executive Director is also the key liaison with the Board in order to achieve the organization’s mission.  The QCSO is a LAO Group 4 orchestra.

The performance objectives for this position are:

  • To improve/enhance relationships with board, staff, and volunteers and with external constituents;
  • To raise money, both for annual operations and for the endowment fund;
  • To maintain positive annual financial performance;
  • To manage on-going operations: concerts, rehearsals, and special events;
  • To support the quality of the music;
  • To increase attendance at all QCSO events;
  • To support and enhance educational and outreach activities.



We seek a person with at least a five-year track record in cultural or not for profit organization management with budgets in excess of $1 million.  Current knowledge of the issues, trends, and development affecting community-support orchestras is preferred, as is experience with contemporary marketing methods such as the use of social media.  Previous experience with symphony orchestra management would be highly desirable as well as a graduate degree in arts, or not-for-profit/arts management.     

The successful candidate will be a highly motivated individual with excellent financial and fund-raising skills who can provide solid administrative leadership to this organization.  Experience in grant writing, endowment campaigns, and annual fund drives are very important as is the ability to cultivate, solicit, and steward major gifts from high level individual donors, corporate sponsors, and foundation/government funders in conjunction with the development director.  The new Executive Director must be comfortable in the public arena, able to serve as a community leader and high-profile spokesperson on behalf of the QCSO, and be a people person in the best sense of the word.

The QCSO is an artistically-driven organization: the Executive Director’s relationship with the Music Director is of paramount importance.  In addition the ideal candidate will have the ability to work cooperatively with the QCSO’s Board of Trustees, staff, volunteers, and the wider community.   He/she must be a consultative team player comfortable in an environment that allows both staff and volunteers to flourish.

Other necessary skills include recruitment, supervision and motivation of staff, experience in the development and management of budgets, excellent written and oral communication skills, and a good grasp of strategic problem solving.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.


Application Process:     

Please send resume and cover letter with salary requirements and a list of references by Friday, September 1, 2017 to:

Margaret Genovese

Senior Partner

Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates


E-mail: gvasearch@gmail.com


For additional information, visit the QCSO website at: www.qcso.org or www.genovesevanderhoof.com.