ARTISTIC DIRECTOR and CONDUCTOR
“This is Bach at its finest. The conductor, orchestra, soloists, and chorus are eminently capable of the nuances of the rich harmonic texts…spirited and vivacious…it is not likely to get any better than this on this side of the Atlantic.” (The American Organist)
“…an American musical treasure…they sing with a fervor and a level of musicianship that carries one away—from bass to soprano, the supple strength and solidly integrated tone of this amateur choir reflects the most admirable qualities of the European-American tradition of choral song.” (Wall Street Journal)
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem invites applications and referrals for the position of Artistic Director & Conductor.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem
The Mission of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and its Bach Festival Orchestra is to perform the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and to promote and encourage appreciation of the aesthetic and spiritual value of Bach’s music, while striving for the highest standards of musical excellence. This mission is achieved by engaging its audience—locally, nationally, and internationally—through education and performance, including works by composers who influenced Bach and were influenced by him, and through the programs of The Bel Canto Youth Chorus. Together, The Choir and Bel Canto cultivate a lifelong passion for the choral arts.
Founded in 1898, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is the oldest Bach Choir in the United States and gave the first American performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor (1900) and the Christmas Oratorio (1904). Since its founding, The Choir has attracted thousands of national and international visitors to its annual Bethlehem Bach Festival every May. Today, The Choir consists of 85 volunteer singers and a 30-piece Bach Festival Orchestra made up of professionals and Baroque specialists from 11 states. The Bel Canto Youth Chorus, now in its 26th year, is a group of 50 singers in grades 6 through 12. The Choir is supported by an administrative staff of six persons led by Executive Director Bridget George, and is headquartered in the historic district of Bethlehem, PA. The Board of Managers of The Choir consists of 25 individuals from 4 states. The annual budget is approximately $1.5 million.
Under the leadership of Greg Funfgeld, The Choir’s activities have expanded to a year-round season of 40 concerts and educational programs with an audience of more than 20,000; recordings for the Dorian and Analekta labels, films for PBS and Classical Kids, and touring performances to such concert halls as the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Royal Albert Hall/BBC Proms, Carnegie Hall, Trinity Church Wall Street, the Kennedy Center, and the Music Center at Strathmore. The Bach Choir will be featured at Bachfest Leipzig in 2020.
The Choir has been recognized for its outstanding educational outreach programs (Bach at Noon, Bach to School, imaginative Family Concerts, selection of Choral Scholars, collaborative initiatives with other Arts organizations, among many other activities) through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and by the J.S. Bach Foundation in Switzerland, the first American recipient of its annual award, recognizing its outstanding work in Bach performance and education for young people. In 2019, The Bel Canto Youth Chorus, directed by founder Dr. Joy Hirokawa, merged with The Bach Choir to have a greater impact on training the next generation of choral singers.
Maestro Funfgeld is only the sixth conductor in The Choir’s history and is now in his 37th season. He plans to retire June of 2021.
The Position of Artistic Director and Conductor:
The most important qualities sought in the new Artistic Director and Conductor are artistic excellence and superb musicianship at an international level, as well a passionate commitment to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and the ability to inspire and elicit performances of high quality and emotional impact.
Reporting to the Board of Managers and working closely with the Executive Director, the new Artistic Director and Conductor must have the skills, abilities, and character to follow a charismatic leader who has taken The Choir to a new level of quality and activity.
The Artistic Director and Conductor is charged with creating an artistic strategy consistent with the vision, mandate, and values of The Choir, as well as planning repertoire, overseeing educational and community outreach activities, and serving as a public face for the organization. This is a full-time position and assumes residence in Bethlehem or within the Greater Lehigh Valley.
The Artistic Director and Conductor must be able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with the Board of Managers, Choir staff, Choir and orchestra members, the media, fellow artists, other arts groups, sponsors, educational institutions, volunteers, audiences and other stakeholders.
The Artistic Director and Conductor will be expected to perform publicity/marketing functions, participate in fund-raising, major gift cultivation, and donor meetings, manage rehearsals and scheduling, and build strong partnerships with other organizations.
1. A passionate commitment to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, including a comprehensive knowledge of Bach’s works.
2. Outstanding skills as a choral and orchestral conductor.
3. Well-versed in historically-informed performance practices with both modern and period instruments.
4. Excellent leadership qualities, including strong communication skills, visionary ideas, and collegial behavior.
5. The ability to relate well with all of the constituencies within The Bach Choir Family, including singers, instrumentalists, audiences of all ages, staff, board members, donors, and volunteers.
6. Knowledge of and respect for the unique history and traditions of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and support for its mission.
7. Advanced degree in choral conducting and experienced keyboard player preferred.
Other Information and Application Process:
Compensation commensurate with experience. Relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable.
Interested candidates are invited to submit a letter of interest in confidence, as well as a resume, salary expectations, list of references, up to three audio recordings, and up to three videos of professional quality (one of which is of a choral rehearsal and one of a concert including orchestra) by Friday, January 31, 2020 to:
GENOVESE, VANDERHOOF & ASSOCIATES
We recommend you upload your video samples to a private YouTube page and send us the links or create a Google Drive folder to share.
For additional information, see:
www. Bach.org, www.genovesevanderhoof.com;
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem does not discriminate against any person based on race, color, gender identify or expression, sexual orientation, religion, age, familial or marital status, veteran status, non-job related disability or any other basis protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.