Job Opportunity

Position Available: Managing Director

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Summary of Opportunity

Third Coast Percussion, a Grammy Award-winning quartet based in Chicago, IL, is seeking a Managing Director who will work alongside the ensemble, staff, and board of directors to steward the organization’s stellar professional reputation and continued artistic success. Chief among the Managing Director’s responsibilities is booking, contracting, and servicing a full season of domestic and international touring engagements in partnership with ensemble member and Executive Director, David Skidmore. The Managing Director is the face of the organization at all national, regional, and international booking conferences and serves as the main point of contact with the organization’s PR firm, record label, and many of our other long-term institutional relationships. As such, the Managing Director plays a major role in communicating the vision and values of the ensemble to a wide range of collaborators and potential stakeholders. The Managing Director also oversees the organization’s marketing efforts. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Managing Director is the senior non-performing staff member and directly oversees the work of the Office Manager/Development Associate.

 

About Third Coast Percussion

Mission

The mission of Third Coast Percussion is to inspire and educate through the creation of exciting and unexpected musical experiences.

Vision

A worldwide audience that embraces creativity, curiosity, and community through music.

Values

  • Highest standard of excellence
  • Curiosity and experimentation
  • Responsibility and stewardship
  • Collaboration
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Kindness and respect

For fifteen years, Third Coast Percussion has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 33 of the 50 states plus international tour dates in Colombia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and Poland. 

A direct connection with the audience is at the core of all of Third Coast Percussion’s work, whether the musicians are speaking from the stage about a new piece of music, inviting the audience to play along in a concert or educational performance, or inviting their fans around the world to create new music using one of their free mobile apps. The four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and make active participation by all students the corner stone of all their educational offerings.

Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered new works by Philip Glass, Jlin, Tyondai Braxton, Augusta Read Thomas, Devonté Hynes, Georg Friedrich Haas, Donnacha Dennehy, Glenn Kotche, Christopher Cerrone, David T. Little and today’s leading up-and-coming composers through their Emerging Composers Partnership Program. The organization has also always maintained strong ties to the vibrant artistic community in their hometown of Chicago. 

Third Coast Percussion has an annual budget of over $750,000, a board of 15, and a staff that includes the 4 ensemble members and 3 full-time non-performing staff members. Each of the 4 members of the ensemble oversee an aspect of the organization’s administration: David Skidmore is Executive Director, Sean Connors is Technical Director, Robert Dillon is Development Director, and Peter Martin is Finance Director. 

Our small but mighty organization is driven by a relentless work ethic, extraordinary ambition met with calm calculation, outstanding artistic product anyone could be proud of, and a warm, supportive work environment that is safe, fun, and inspiring.

 

Current Environment, Opportunities and Challenges

Third Coast Percussion has successfully and continuously grown its artistic ambition and organization size since its founding in 2005. For the first four years, the founding ensemble members donated their time and energy to the group. In 2009 we received our 501(c)3 status and our first grant, which allowed for continued expansion. In 2013, the 4 ensemble members became full-time employees. In 2014, we hired our first part-time, non-performing employee. As of 2019, we have 3 full-time non-performing employees, and our 4 full-time performing ensemble members also have administrative responsibilities.

As an organization, we have always been and will continue to be conservative in our organizational planning, while upholding an ambitious approach to artistic planning—and we believe these two philosophies go hand-in-hand. In 15 years, we have not yet had a single year “in the red,” and we maintain healthy operating reserves in the event of a budget shortfall.

The organization is currently completing a strategic planning process that will be implemented in the coming years, and the Managing Director will be a key player in the implementation of this strategic plan, which is available upon request. Chief among the goals of the strategic plan is moving the organization from its broad perception as a “young, emerging” ensemble to a “mid-career, established, internationally-renowned” ensemble. 

 

About the Position and Responsibilities

Third Coast Percussion is seeking an experienced arts administrator to fill the role of Managing Director in our organization. This is a full-time position, reporting to Executive Director and ensemble member David Skidmore.

 

Booking

The Managing Director will work closely with the Executive Director to book, contract, and service the ensemble’s annual 11-month touring season, which includes both domestic and international tour dates. This will mean both regular, bi-weekly (every 2 weeks) meetings with the Executive Director to coordinate booking efforts, as well as more frequent “check-ins” about specific presenter partnerships and other projects. The Managing Director must maintain a bird’s-eye view of TCP’s position in the market place including which presenters are being pitched which projects, which projects have the best potential to fit with which presenter, as well as TCP’s reputation and perceived value in the market place. The Managing Director will attend all national, regional, and international booking conferences on behalf of TCP, set up meetings with presenters, and maintain a presence at our booth. The Managing Director is responsible for contracting all engagements in a timely manner, for being a point-of-contact when the ensemble is on tour should problems arise, and for insuring that all payments from presenting organizations are made to TCP in a timely manner. 

Third Coast Percussion has partnered and continues to partner with a number of other performing arts organizations and individuals on touring productions, and the Managing Director will be expected to coordinate booking efforts with the representatives from these other organizations. The Managing Director is also expected to coordinate schedules between TCP and these partners.

Third Coast Percussion has a significant and growing international touring schedule, and the Managing Director is responsible for insuring that visas and other documentation are secured for all international engagements in a timely manner.

The Managing Director will work with the Executive Director at the beginning of each season to set ambitious but attainable goals for the amount of earned income sought for the following fiscal year via booked engagements, as well as broader goals including which specific markets and presenters the ensemble is targeting. They are also responsible for recording, in real time, dates held and confirmed on TCP’s shared Google calendar, as well as recording real-time updates on our shared Google budget sheet of income that is possible, likely, or confirmed, and real-time updates on Google itineraries for each engagement with relevant details including travel dates/times, repertoire, addresses, etc.

 

Representing TCP

The Managing Director is the primary representative of the organization to many of our key partners, including the venues and institutions that present Third Coast Percussion, our institutional partners including our educational partner, The Peoples Music School, our PR firm, Bucklesweet, and our record label, Cedille Records, and many other key collaborators and stakeholders. The organization also looks to the Managing Director to cultivate new relationships and partnerships to advance our artistic and organizational goals.

 

Marketing

The Managing Director oversees the organization’s marketing efforts, including our social media presence, email newsletters, coordination with our contracted PR firm, website updates and redesign, press photos, bios, and branding. They will work with the Executive Director to prepare and maintain all marketing materials for TCP, both for the purposes of booking the ensemble, and for public messaging including email newsletters, social media posts, press photos, etc. The Managing Director also co-chairs the marketing committee for the TCP Board of Directors. 

 

Management

TCP’s Office Manager and Development Associate, Rebecca McDaniel, reports directly to both the Managing Director and to TCP’s Development Director (and ensemble member), Robert Dillon. In addition to delegating tasks to her and managing her workload, the Managing Director also meets regularly with Rebecca to assess progress on long-term projects and provide feedback when necessary. Our studio manager, Colin Campbell, reports to the Technical Director.

 

Other

Third Coast Percussion is a small team with big goals and international reach, and as such, all 7 of our employees take on many other, smaller responsibilities as they come up. This includes but is not limited to: clerical duties that require top-level clearance (e.g. cutting large checks, printing sensitive documents, etc.), communication with the landlord of our office/rehearsal space, assisting during fundraising events, etc.

 

Work Environment

All staff and (when not on tour) ensemble members work from 10am–6pm, Monday–Friday in our office and rehearsal studio on Chicago’s Northwest Side in a converted light manufacturing building that has become a hub for many artists and creators of different disciplines. The office is accessible by public transit, bike, and car within minutes to many of the city’s vibrant neighborhoods. 

Work/life balance is a crucial part of the success of our organization, and though we all work extremely hard, occasionally in stressful, deadline-oriented, high-stakes environments, our most valuable assets are our employees and we are respectful and mindful of your health, family life, and personal growth. All employees are occasionally asked to work outside of normal work hours, most often for performance-specific events including concerts, fundraisers, and other professional development opportunities. The Managing Director specifically may be called upon to schedule remote meetings via phone or videoconference outside of normal work hours with presenters in other time zones. 

Because we are a small and nimble organization whose budget and capacity are still growing, the Managing Director has opportunities for growth both in terms of new responsibilities and compensation.

 

Qualifications

  • Extraordinary communication skills—in person, via videoconference, on the phone, and via email, including prompt response to all internal and external communication
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Excellent organization and time management
  • Ability to inspire enthusiasm for TCP’s work, specifically, and contemporary music more broadly
  • A compelling and influential presence in one-on-one interactions and larger group presentations
  • Ability to quickly learn on the job
  • Professional confidence, self-motivation, and willingness to collaborate
  • 3-5 years minimum previous experience in arts administration required
  • Previous experience booking in the performing arts strongly preferred 
  • Excellent salesmanship and experience in sales strongly preferred
  • Ability to manage and prioritize many tasks at once
  • Passionate enthusiasm for the arts, particularly the new, innovative, interesting, different, and ground-breaking
  • Ability to thrive working in relatively close quarters with fun, respectful, enthusiastic colleagues
  • Ability to handle stressful situations and meet deadlines without constant supervision
  • Creative problem solver with a positive attitude
  • Background in music preferred
  • Proficiency with Google Suite, including Mail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Forms
  • Proficiency with MailChimp or similar email newsletter software
  • Must own a smartphone (laptop provided by the organization), and must be able to arrange transport for commute to our office and rehearsal studio each work day

 

Reporting and Feedback

A big contributor to Third Coast Percussion’s success as an organization is regular and honest communication between all employees. At the end of each fiscal year, each employee (including ensemble members) participates in a 360-degree feedback session with their direct reports. New employees also participate in a 3-month and 6-month 360-degree feedback session in their first year of employment.

 

Compensation and Start Date

Salary will be commensurate with skills and experience brought to the position. Salary and benefits are competitive with other not-for-profit performing arts companies of similar stature and size, in a world-class city with a reasonable cost of living. Start date is negotiable, but we are eager to fill this position as soon as possible.

 

How to Apply

To be considered for this position, click here. You will be prompted to input your name and contact information, upload a current résumé, upload a cover letter of no more than 2 pages outlining your experience and desire to be considered for this position, and input salary expectations utilizing our online application system.