orchestra@uwaterloo is an accomplished, extra-curricular orchestra that has been part of the University of Waterloo community for over ten years. It plays two main concerts each year, in late November or early December and late March or early April. Its concerts have included such works as the Brahms violin concerto, Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz, and Dances of Galanta by Kodály.

The Music Director should be an experienced professional musician who can interact well with an orchestra composed primarily of undergraduate students. He or she needs to train players to the highest possible artistic level while accommodating a wide range of abilities. As the only paid position in an otherwise all-volunteer organization, the Music Director needs to take on a major leadership role, working with the orchestra council.

Specific responsibilities include the following. Audition players each September and January. (Because the Waterloo undergraduate program is heavily co-op, with students going on and returning from work terms every four months, the orchestra is formed for the September-December term and then re-formed for the January-April term.) Select appropriate repertoire. For two terms each year, conduct weekly rehearsals, one evening
a week, dress rehearsal on a Sunday evening, and the end-of-term concert on the same weekday evening as the rehearsals. Recruit additional players to fill gaps in the orchestra. Play a key role in organizing and adjudicating the bi-annual Concerto and Aria Competition (competition in January, winner performing in March/April). Work with the orchestra council in overall management of the orchestra and setting long-term directions.

The position is part-time, mid-September to early April. Compensation is consistent with similar orchestral positions. In the past, the orchestra has sometimes performed, on a more casual basis, in the May-August term. Activity in future May-August terms (with appropriate compensation for such terms) would be by mutual consent between the orchestra council and the Music Director.

The position requires a degree in music, Master’s degree preferred, and professional conducting experience. The successful candidate must enjoy working with amateur players, able to work with them at their current level while pushing them and the orchestra as a whole to higher levels of performance. Familiarity with the constraints of a university environment and the impact of full-time studies while playing in the orchestra is very desirable. The University of Waterloo is noted for its involvement in high technology and many of the players are studying in “tech” fields, so comfort with technology is also very desirable. Familiarity with musical activity in the Waterloo region is also desirable, e.g., for recruiting additional players.

Applicants must provide the following: a resume, including both education and experience; if not part of the resume, a list of performed repertoire; names of references (who will be contacted in the event an applicant is short-listed). If one is available, a video of the candidate conducting an orchestra, preferably a rehearsal rather than a performance. A URL for the video is strongly preferred, rather than a DVD.

The University of Waterloo is a comprehensive university, often noted for its academic programs in engineering, math, and computer science, but with strengths in many other areas as well. It has the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world. The University has a Music Department based at Conrad Grebel University College, which is supportive of the orchestra but not directly connected to it. The players are a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni, with undergraduates predominating and the Mathematics and Engineering Faculties particularly well-represented. From an organizational perspective, the orchestra is run by a council and reports to the Associate Provost, Students. The orchestra began in 2004 and has had only one Music Director, Erna Van Daele, who is now retiring. The orchestra web site can be found at http://www.orchestra.uwaterloo.ca. Please note that details of the audition process for orchestra members, an important responsibility of the Music Director, can be found on the “Join the Orchestra” page.

Applications are to be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a subject heading of “Conductor search”. The deadline for applications is May 9, 2016. Selected applicants will be contacted for interviews with the hiring committee, in person or, if necessary, by phone or Skype. The intention is that two candidates will be invited to serve as guest conductors for the January-April 2017 term (with rehearsals on Thursday evenings), each rehearsing part of the program and conducting that part of the concert on Thursday, March 30, 2017. If appropriate, conducting auditions will take place to assist in the selection of those two finalists. The selected candidate will begin serving as Music Director in September 2017. 

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