Vice President for Innovation and Program Development
Music Academy of the West
Santa Barbara, California

The Music Academy of the West invites applications for the new position of Vice President for Innovation and Program Development.

The Organization

The Music Academy of the West, currently in its 71st season, makes a significant contribution to today’s cultural environment through its mission of advancing the development of the next generation of great classically-trained musicians, and by cultivating discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences.

Each summer 140 instrumentalists and singers, between the ages of 18-34, come together for 8 weeks of training and performance, on full scholarship, on the spectacular ocean-side campus of the Music Academy of the West. Led by a faculty drawn from the most revered of today’s artists, fellows develop their skills via private lessons combined with an extensive masterclass model that exponentially builds their experience and confidence, and in close relationship with an audience that attends more than 200 events each summer. In addition to this rich artistic environment, each fellow is supported by a “Compeer”, a community member who augments the artistic experience with personal support.

The organization prides itself on a culture that is strongly relationship-driven, whether among colleagues, with fellows, alumni, and faculty, or with donors, audience members, and local, national, and international partners.

The Music Academy of the West, with a $10 million annual budget, has recently completed a $50 million facilities upgrade. It enjoys fiscal stability, with a growing and robust endowment, and with eight years of balanced budgets. Last year the Academy became an All-Steinway Institution.

The Position

In this context of fiscal and artistic vibrancy, the Academy is ready to take the next step. It seeks to expand its local, national, and international footprint by growing the brand, creating new opportunities for current fellows and alumni, and positioning itself at the forefront of exploration and discussion around our art form in the contemporary context.

To this end, The Music Academy seeks a new leader for a new business. In the position of Vice President for Innovation and Program Development, the Academy seeks a dynamic individual with proven artistic and educational vision, and with significant project management experience.

The Vice President for Innovation and Program Development is charged with leveraging the strengths of both the on-campus programs, and existing partnerships (which currently includes solo recitals, chamber music, choral and orchestral programs), while seeking, developing, and producing new opportunities.

Already in the pipeline are the Alumni Enterprise Awards, which launch in a pilot phase in 2018-19, with grants for alumni who will bring forward new, groundbreaking, ideas. The Alumni Enterprise Awards program has the goal of growing exponentially over the next few years, in terms of financial resource, number of grants, programmatic opportunities, and a mentorship program in which grantees will be matched with illustrious senior artists.

These activities describe only a starting point for this position – one that will challenge the person chosen to pave a unique path for the Music Academy. Whether through the creation of new programs, co-curating (with other senior staff and consultants) the recently launched Classical Music Evolution/Revolution Conference (an annual conference addressing the evolution of classical music in the 21st century), or cultivating partnerships and programs yet to be imagined, the new Vice President has the opportunity to impact the careers of today’s most outstanding young artists, and indeed to affect the future of our sector through programming that stands at the forefront of innovation and opportunity.

Success in this role will drive a completely transformed image for the Music Academy of West over the next decade – one that has a year-round international profile associated with outstanding, emerging artistry, as-yet-unheard-of new approaches to the art form, and deepening engagement with the Santa Barbara community and far beyond.

Candidate Profile:

The successful candidate will:

• Have a passion for, and thorough knowledge of, classical music
• Be creative in program and business development
• Have proven ability in program design and implementation
• Have strong interpersonal skills
• Welcome collaboration and partnership
• Bring at least 7 years of professional involvement in classical music, whether as an artist or as an administrator
• Be committed to:
o Developing programs and opportunities that support a year-round portfolio of innovative artistic and community work
o Invest in the professional growth of young artists and the cultivation of new audiences and community partners
o Extend the brand of the Music Academy of the West as a thought leader and change maker in classical music internationally

Benefits and Compensation

Annual salary in the $120,000-130,000 range, plus benefits which are competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Music Academy provides a comprehensive benefit package for full-time employees, which includes health and dental coverage, life insurance, paid vacation and holidays, and a 403(b) plan.

Candidates should anticipate national and international travel as the position requires.


Please send a cover letter outlining interest and qualifications, with resume, and contact information for four professional references.

Electronic submissions are required. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.

Please submit materials prior to April 1, 2018, to:

Polly Kahn
PK Art Solutions