Managing Director

Chicago, IL
eighth blackbird Performing Arts


eighth blackbird Performing Arts Association is hiring a Managing Director. The position has overall administrative responsibility for the organization, which serves as the umbrella for eighth blackbird’s activities. These duties include: mission execution, development strategies, financial and artistic management, and general administration. This position serves as the primary liaison within the organization and reports to the Board of Directors. This is a full-time paid position with benefits.


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I. Board

  1. Aligning board resources to achieve organizational mission.
  2. Serving as liaison between the Board of Directors, the ensemble, and administrative staff to build organizational consensus.
  3. Monitoring Board standing committees:
    • Finance
    • Fundraising
    • Nominating


II. Development

  1. Managing part-time “Creative Partners” Development Director strategies and activities, including individual major donor, foundation, corporate solicitations and the annual appeal, among others.
  2. Providing relationship continuity with all funding sources.
  3. Overseeing execution of annual fundraising event.


III. Finances

  1. Creating and monitoring annual budget/
  2. Reporting on financial status at monthly finance committee and quarterly board meetings.
  3. Supervising completion of annual audit.
  4. Reviewing long-range financial planning.
  5. Acting as fiscal agent for the “Creative Partners” project.

IV. General Administration

  1. Defining and maintaining organizational processes and staff structure.
  2. Hiring and managing staff, including establishing task priorities, and conducting annual reviews.
  3. Creating & maintaining an organizational chart of all ensemble and staff subcommittees.


V. Artistic Management

  1. Coordinating relationship with ensemble Booking Management, including reviewing contracts and coordinating scheduling.
  2. Negotiating and executing artistic contracts and agreements including with Booking Manager, key residencies and relevant performers and composers in conjunction with the Booking Manager.
  3. Providing leadership for timely planning of future seasons, project development and artistic growth.


  • 5-7 years minimum arts management experience in roles of increasing responsibility that included financial and personnel management, and artistic coordination.
  • An interest in or appreciation of contemporary classical music.
  • Astute interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience negotiating contracts with artists and vendors.
  • Strong organizational skills, detail orientation and ability to think and act proactively.
  • Familiarity with relevant information technologies (database, MS Office, email/web/cloud based applications).
  • Professional maturity to effectively represent the organization to broad and diverse constituents (e.g. funders, donors, presenters, etc.).
  • Capacity to identify and maintain focus on evolving priorities and to delegate to and empower staff.
  • Ability to create and streamline administrative processes.
  • Willingness to develop a collaborative, peer-based relationship with talented and experienced ensemble members who strive for the highest performance standards.



  • This is a full-time appointment consistent with eighth blackbird Performing Arts Association employment policy. Compensation within the range of $55,000 to $65,000, to be determined based on qualifications.
  • Benefits include health insurance and vacation.
  • This position is located in offices in the Uptown neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, IL.



The Chicago-based contemporary music ensemble, eighth blackbird, combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. In addition to its longstanding relationships as Ensemble- in-Residence at the University of Richmond and the University of Chicago, the sextet commenced a three-year term as Ensemble-in-Residence at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music in 2012. The full-time ensemble maintains an active touring schedule with performances throughout the U.S., and abroad. They have appeared at most major American concert halls and series and have commissioned and premiered numerous new works, several of which have been recognized by Pulitzer prizes and nominations as well as Grammy Awards. A decade-long relationship with Cedille Records has produced six acclaimed recordings, three of which have won Grammy Awards. The group is managed by David Lieberman Artists.

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In lieu of a cover letter, applicants are asked to submit concise answers to the following questions, along with a copy of their resume, references (2-3), and a relevant writing sample in a single PDF file Applications will be accepted until June 1, 2013, or until the position is filled. Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt of their materials and further guidance and updates about the hiring process by e-mail, with interviews provided for finalists. No phone inquiries please.

Application Questions (in lieu of a cover letter)

  • What publications (print or online) do you read regularly?
  • What do you see as the top 2-3 issues facing classical music?
  • What connections and skills do you bring that will enhance the depth and diversity of eighth blackbird’s activities?
  • What have you learned lately?
  • What talks, events, and/or performances (of any type) have you attended in the last month?
  • What type of work and/or interaction provides you professional fulfillment?
  • What would you like to accomplish in the next 2-3 years?
  • Briefly describe one project that you have led or initiated in the recent past of which you are particularly proud.
  • How would your closest friend describe your greatest strength and weakness?
  • Describe a favorite previous supervisor and why he/she stood out.