Music Director and Conductor

  • Part-time

Company Description

The Orchestra of Northern New York welcomes nominations and applications for the position of Music Director and Conductor, available beginning in the 2024-2025 season. Finalists will be guest conductors in the 2023-2024 season.

The Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization situated in a rural area of upstate New York known as the North Country.  ONNY’s mission is to enrich the quality of life in its region by sharing the power of music to inspire, educate, and entertain. Its vision is to have the people of the North Country embrace ONNY as the leading producer of orchestral music of all genres. ONNY will serve as a reminder to all of the ability to convene and celebrate community. Our success will be demonstrated by the growing size and diversity of our performances and audiences. In turn, ONNY will be recognized, valued, and supported by residents, visitors, and institutions throughout the region. Our values are Excellence, Community, Respect, and Sustainability.  ONNY has gained state-wide recognition from the “I LOVE NY” campaign, which identified it as “One of the Sweetest Sounds” in the State.

Now celebrating its 35th Anniversary season, ONNY is considered a cultural gem of the region. What began as the Chamber Orchestra of Northern New York in 1988 has developed into the only fully professional year-round regional symphony orchestra from Ottawa to Vermont and Montreal to Syracuse. The primary market is the four counties of St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Franklin, and Lewis Counties. The secondary market includes small communities throughout the Adirondack Park.

The season includes six symphonic concerts with two to three performances, one in Potsdam in the 1200-seat Hosmer Hall, The Crane School of Music, and another in Watertown (70 miles from Potsdam) in First Presbyterian Church, known for its exceptional acoustics.  Patrons may either purchase season tickets or individual concert tickets.  The subscription model accounts for a larger portion of sales in the Watertown market than in Potsdam. Two thirds of the audience purchase tickets at the door in Potsdam. Attendance per performance ranges from 250 – 600 depending on the repertoire, and averages 350-400. 

The Orchestra typically ranges in size from 20 musicians for Baroque concerts up to 65 for masterwork and pops concerts. Two-thirds of its professional musicians hail from the North Country, many of whom are faculty members at The Crane School of Music, and a few exceptionally talented Crane student apprentices. The remaining musicians for whom seats cannot be filled locally, come from Montreal, Ottawa, Western New York, Syracuse, Albany, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and New York City. Many orchestra members, both local and outside professionals, have performed with the Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, and other major orchestras around the U.S. and the world.

ONNY has developed several programs in addition to its core concert season, including small-group performances and youth programs. Over the past three (3) years, chamber music concerts in the Adirondacks region of New York have been added to the performance schedule during the Summer.  The intention is for this program to expand across the region in the coming years. ONNY also hosts a Young Artist Competition, now in its seventeenth year, in which students vie for the first prize of $500 and an opportunity to solo with the full orchestra. Junior high and high school students perform a work from memory from the approved repertoire.

Pre-COVID, ONNY reached approximately 10,000 people each season. Audiences are slowly returning to the concert hall. During the fall of 2020, ONNY ONLINE was launched, which includes interviews and performances by ONNY musicians, receiving more than 34,000 views in just four months.

Along with revenue from ticket sales, concert fees, program advertising, and fundraising events, the Orchestra of Northern New York relies on significant financial support from individuals, organizations and businesses to fund its $326,000 budget for 2022-2023 (July 1 – June 30).  Contributions help keep ticket prices affordable and allow ONNY to offer discounts to seniors, military, healthcare workers and first responders, college students, and teens. Children, 12 and younger, are always admitted free. There is a modest endowment of about $200,000.

In addition to significant funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Northern New York Community Foundation, the Orchestra also receives substantial support from SUNY Potsdam and The Crane School of Music for space usage.

The Orchestra of Northern New York is governed by 17 dedicated volunteers who comprise the Board of Directors. Management includes the team of the music director and full-time executive director. Other paid staff are a personnel manager, orchestra librarian, and sound engineer.  Management is also supported by a volunteer social media coordinator, and website and technology director. Many volunteers support ONNY by serving as host families to outside musicians, putting up posters, assisting with front-of-house activities, and staffing fundraising events.

Potsdam is home to the State University of New York at Potsdam, including the Crane School of Music, and Clarkson University. Ten miles down the road are SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University. The universities provide a rich smorgasbord of offerings that range from science and engineering programs to the arts and culture. The area is also rich in natural resources and opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities year-round.  

To learn more about the Orchestra of Northern New York, visit

Job Description

The Music Director and Conductor serves as the orchestra’s artistic leader and is responsible for fulfilling the Orchestra’s artistic potential and its image in the community. This individual: 

  • is responsible for the repertoire, programming and artistic production of each season of orchestral concerts;

  • leads the development and implementation of further artistic programs, such as summer chamber performances and youth events;

  • oversees the selection, development, and replacement of musicians;

  • plays a prominent role in building and sustaining the Orchestra’s visibility and involvement in the community; 

  • and actively participates in the organization’s budgeting and fundraising activities. 

The music director works closely and collaboratively with the executive director, board of directors, and staff in carrying out these responsibilities.


The ideal candidate will possess exceptional musicianship and conducting skills; significant conducting experience, including work with professional musicians; knowledge of a broad range of repertoire; strong interpersonal, leadership, organizational, and communication skills; vision, passion, and the ability to make symphonic music relevant and exciting for existing and new audiences.  Previous or current music directorship or comparable experience is preferred.

Additional Information

Compensation for this part time position is dependent upon the applicant’s experience and is subject to budgetary constraints. Employment with The Orchestra of Northern New York is on an "at-will" basis. This means employment may be terminated at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause. Likewise, we respect the employee’s right to leave the Organization at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause. ONNY is an equal opportunity employer.

Applications must include: 

  • a personal letter of interest from the candidate, 

  • a brief résumé, 

  • candidate’s repertoire list and previously conducted programs, 

  • names and phone numbers of at least three professional references,

  • at least three (3) and no more than five (5) YouTube or Vimeo links to recordings of the candidate’s conducting.

Candidates who submit an application by January 13, 2023, will be guaranteed consideration. 

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