Artistic Director Search

Chicago a cappella is accepting applications for the position of Artistic Director.

Founded in 1993, Chicago a cappella is a ten-voice professional ensemble that performs without a conductor or accompaniment.  The ensemble enjoys a well-earned reputation for vocal virtuosity, diverse repertoire, and innovative programming.

Candidates are asked to submit the following to

  • A cover letter and resume outlining education, professional history, artistic qualifications, and leadership experience
  • A selection of printed programs of performances for which the candidate selected repertoire and/or directed
  • 3-5 audio or video recordings of performances demonstrating a diversity of repertoire and excellence of performance*; at least one selection should be a cappella; please include description of performances listing repertoire, date, and performers
  • Requested, not required: video recordings of rehearsals* not to exceed 20 minutes total

 *Audio and video files too large for email can be uploaded to a file sharing platform with a link included in your application.




Our new Artistic Director (AD) will succeed Jonathan Miller, who founded and led the ensemble from startup through 25 seasons of growth in artistry, audience and financial sustainability. This high-profile position that actively engages with our singers, audience, donors, board of directors and fellow staff is currently designed as part-time. The position demands not only specialized musical expertise, but also creativity, leadership, and excellent interpersonal and communications skills. The leader we seek will uphold, respect and build upon CAC’s history of artistic excellence, and inspire us with new and innovative artistic ideas.  The AD will report to the Executive Director and will be comfortable in our collaborative culture.  See full job description below.  See full list of past programs here for reference.


General responsibilities of the Artistic Director include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating and articulating concert program themes and repertoire for a four-program concert season, recordings, and any performances outside of the regular season
  • Leading ensemble’s rehearsals for several series programs each season, and engaging guest music directors for remaining activities
  • Managing artistic staff and their output by auditioning, selecting, and evaluating all singers, music directors and other guest artists, and ensuring that they are upholding CAC’s high standards
  • Participating in CAC’s educational outreach programs in an advisory or leadership position, in consultation with the ED and other staff
  • Taking an active and visible role in CAC’s fundraising efforts, including donor cultivation and fundraising events
  • Serving as a principal ambassador of CAC with concert attendees and subscribers, current and potential donors, and the media
  • Working with the board of directors and staff, including preparing board reports, supporting board recruitment, participating in strategic and budget planning, and attending board meetings

Selection Procedure:

Interviews will be conducted during the summer of 2018 and selected candidates will be invited to lead on-site rehearsals with the ensemble in September 2018.  Finalists for the position will then be invited to program and rehearse a subscription series concert during the first half of Chicago a cappella’s 2019-2020 season.  We anticipate that the new Artistic Director will be selected and announced in January 2020. 


Commensurate with qualifications and negotiated scope of work





Job Description


TITLE: Artistic Director

SUPERVISED BY: Executive Director

SUPERVISES: Music director(s), singers, guest artists

Key Requirements/Characteristics

  • Brings inspiration, excitement, and artistic vitality to the Chicago a cappella (CAC) enterprise
  • Demonstrates knowledge of job duties, responsibilities, and understanding of and adherence to CAC policies, goals, and competencies
  • Demonstrates professional qualifications and experience commensurate with the responsibilities
  • Demonstrates sophisticated communication skills to maintain strong relationships with staff, board, singers, audience, donors, other stakeholders as part of CAC’s strong culture of collaboration
  • Identifies opportunities for growth and improvement to advance CAC’s mission
  • Acts as a principal ambassador and public voice of CAC


The artistic director (AD) is responsible for upholding CAC’s artistic standards. This is a high-profile, high-visibility position, requiring specialized musical and communication skills, creativity, and leadership. The AD is called upon to inspire and guide CAC’s core constituencies, which include audiences, board, the ensemble’s professional singers, donors, funders, commercial clients and fellow staff.

Areas of responsibility of this position are:


  1. The AD takes primary responsibility for the creation of high-quality program themes and selection of musical repertoire for each season concert, in keeping with the CAC brand, working in collaboration with the ED, and with board oversight. 
  1. AD will provide to a designated administrative staff person:
    • specific information about the final scores to be ordered, and/or provide copies of original works, no later than 10 weeks prior to the first rehearsal for that program;
    • scoring information no later than 5 weeks prior to the first rehearsal for that program;
    • International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) equivalents, or other study tools as needed to accompany scores, no later than 5 weeks prior to the first rehearsal for that program;
    • any texts or translations needed for the printed program, along with sources and attributions (or direct staff person to the appropriate sources for same), no later than 3 weeks prior to print deadline as specified by staff;
    • written program notes for the program, no later than 1 week prior to print deadline as specified by staff.
  1. AD also takes primary responsibility for programming themes and selecting musical repertoire for performances associated with CAC’s education and community outreach activities, outside appearances, recordings, or other artistic opportunities.  However, with approval of ED, the AD may delegate some of this work to other staff (e.g., to education program directors for CAC’s student programs, or guest music directors for outside appearances).  Under these circumstances the AD will retain accountability for fulfillment.
  1. If AD is not serving as Music Director for any given program (including series concerts, outside appearances, etc.) the AD will be responsible for identifying, engaging, and supervising Guest Music Directors.


  1. Organizes and conducts annual auditions for singers and other performers.
  2. Selects singers and other artistic personnel for each program.
  3. Shares responsibility equally with the ED for specifying the terms of, and executing, contracts for all artistic personnel for each performance.
  4. Attends all performances of each concert program, and makes announcements when called upon to do so.
  5. Reviews all concert recordings according to determined schedule, and specifies which performances are to be made available for potential broadcast or other distribution.
  6. For programs the AD does not music direct, AD attends rehearsals as needed to ensure the quality of preparation for performances.


  1. Advises ED in considering guest appearances and other artistic opportunities.
  2. Ensures that singers and other artistic personnel fulfill contractual obligations to CAC.
  3. Supervises artistic personnel and maintains strong relationships with singers to ensure good communication, meeting of deadlines, and positive organizational culture.
  4. Provides artistic staff with timely and explicit descriptions of CAC’s expectations for their performance and performance assessments including re-auditions (for singers) or formal evaluation meetings (for ongoing artistic staff).


Participates as primary artistic voice in interactions with record labels, tour presenters, media, or other entities, including providing media interviews where requested and assigned.


While the ED and the Board spearhead CAC’s fundraising efforts, the AD is a visible participant in these activities, which include identifying, cultivating and thanking donors; attending meetings with individual donors or funders; signing annual fundraising letters and gala invitations; providing input on artistic project narratives for grant proposals; and attending and participating in presentations at cultivation and fundraising events.


Engages with the Board of Directors, attending meetings as needed, preparing a report in advance of each meeting and ensuring board members are informed about artistic activities, supporting Board recruitment efforts, contributing to the creation of the artistic portion of annual budget, and participating in strategic planning and other board committee work as needed.

Note:  There are additional artistic and staff services that the artistic director may, from time to time, be called upon to provide to CAC that fall outside the scope of this job description and will be undertaken with the mutual agreement of CAC and the AD, according to established CAC policy (attached for reference). These include, but are not limited to, composing, arranging, music directing, performing, leading a rehearsal as a substitute for another music director, and leading or participating in master classes or festivals. Compensation for these roles will be additional to any compensation for the role of AD and will be laid out in additional written agreements between the AD and CAC.