Aspen Leadership Group Seeking CEO for Tucson Symphony Orchestra

September 17, 2019 – Aspen Leadership Group, an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting top talent for philanthropic organizations, has been selected to find the next president and chief executive officer for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in Arizona. Senior consultant Anne Johnson is conducting the assignment.

“The president and chief executive officer of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization in order to deliver its mission and vision, as well as guide the strategic planning necessary to advance the TSO,” said the Aspen, CO-based search firm.

In tandem with the board of trustees, the president and CEO will be expected to develop and oversee the development and implementation of goals and strategies that advance artistic excellence, ensure financial stability, maximize community relevance and ensure organizational efficiency. In collaboration with the music director and staff, the leader will be charged with creating, communicating and implementing a programmatic vision that ensures that the orchestra both has significant impact and is positioned as a leader in the orchestral field in the U.S. and beyond.

The president and CEO will be expected to be a highly visible representative of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and have an active year-round presence in Tucson and surrounding communities and help to build a strong brand identity and relevance to the community, said Aspen Leadership Group. The successful candidate will be responsible for relationship management among of the organization’s constituent groups – musicians, local arts and culture organizations, subscribers, funders, government and civic leaders, honorary council, TSO League and other partners to advance the mission and vision of the TSO.

Role Requirements

The individual will also be expected to provide direct supervision of the vice president of operations and artistic planning, vice president of patron loyalty, vice president of development, director of education, director of finance and business operations manager.

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The Tucson Symphony Orchestra wants candidates who have a resourceful and entrepreneurial perspective and the ability to work in a collaborative style and maintain balance in a demanding and fluid environment, said Aspen Leadership Group. Prospects should also have exemplary communication skills and the ability to communicate effectively, build rapport and relate well to people with varying age and values. A commitment to consistently placing a high value on TSO’s extensive network of internal and external stakeholders with a keen focus on listening to, understanding, and appreciating feedback is essential.

Candidates should also have a demonstrated ability to connect dots, see the big picture and recognize long-term effects and future trends;  a demonstrated ability to oversee major gifts cultivation, stewardship and solicitation; and a demonstrated ability to prioritize and complete tasks necessary to meet or exceed the mutually agreed upon expectations while being accountable for personal and professional actions.


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A bachelor’s degree is required. At least eight years of management experience in a performing arts institution is preferred, as is an advanced degree.

Seasoned Recruiters

Now celebrating its 90th season, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s mission is to engage, educate and transform the community through live musical experiences of the highest quality, envisioning a community where music brings people together across all boundaries. Under the artistic leadership of music director José Luis Gomez, the TSO impacts more than 120,000 lives each year, infuses millions into Southern Arizona’s economy annually and attracts over 75 professional musicians from across the country to live, perform and teach in Tucson and throughout the state. The orchestra has an annual budget of $5.4 million and an endowment of $3.4 million.

Related: DHR International Lands New Leader for the Miami City Ballet

Aspen Leadership Group, established in 2013, conducts searches for board members, presidents, executive directors, chief development and advancement officers, and development and advancement professionals. Founder Ronald Schiller has 26 years of experience in executive search, fundraising and administration of non-profit institutions. Mr. Schiller is a nationally recognized advisor to presidents, board members and other leaders in higher education, arts and cultural organizations, healthcare and social and community services.

Ms. Johnson most recently served as chief development officer for the San Francisco Symphony, where she played a senior management role, working closely with the board of governors and leading the symphony’s contributed revenue division. Previously she served as San José State University’s associate vice president of development and campaign director. Prior to her work in the Bay Area she held fundraising positions at the University of Kansas and Boston University.

Related: Alexander Whitehead Places Artistic Director at Arts Club Theater 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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