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Artistic Director - Interview Committee Questions

Note: This document contains many possible AD interview questions - too many to use in an interview setting. Choose and adapt the areas and questions that are more relevant and helpful for your chorus.

Introduction

Briefly describe the history, mission of chorus and organizational structure.

Overview of position: describe priorities of position and review general components of job description.

  1. What about this position and our chorus mission interests you?

Conducting Technique and Philosophy

  1. Describe your conducting philosophy - especially working within a community choir setting.
  2. What are 3-4 primary elements that you would identify as central in teaching and demonstrating healthy vocal technique?
  3. Describe how you would plan and structure a 2.5 hour rehearsal with a community chorus.
  4. How does your music education and experience in choral conducting fit with the requirements that The Chorus is seeking? Give us some specific examples.
  5. Give some examples of working with singers that have varied music-reading ability and musical background.
  6. Have you worked with adult choruses that memorize their repertoire? Do you have recommendations regarding whether a chorus memorizes music or not?
  7. What is your experience working with and conducting world or global music? Do you have knowledge or know how to find resources in teaching music and pronunciation from a variety of cultures and languages?
  8. Describe your experience in coaching small vocal ensembles? What are the differences in coaching ensembles versus a larger chorus?
  9. Repertoire/Programming
  10. How do you shape and create a coherent and vibrant concert program? Describe a concert you programmed that was particularly strong.
  11. Our Chorus is unique in that it utilizes a Music Advisory committee which assists the Artistic Director in finding and reviewing concert repertoire. The final repertoire list for a concert is selected by the AD. How would you envision working with a committee in reviewing music? What might be the advantages and disadvantages for you as AD in working with this type of committee?
  12. The Chorus performs some music from Judeo/Christian traditions, but the vast majority of our music is secular or comes from a variety of global/spiritual traditions. Describe the musical genres you have conducted and how those experiences shape what you could offer to The Chorus programming.
  13. Is there a particular musical genre that you enjoy or specialize in?
  14. How do you help a choir to "peak" with you when it is performance time? What is your approach if a concert date is approaching and the chorus is still struggling to learn a piece?

Communication/Problem Solving

  1. How do you provide feedback to individual singers in a group context?
  2. When working with a chorus, what is the most difficult (irritating) thing for you and how do you deal with that?
  3. Give an example of a challenging situation you have faced in a rehearsal or with a choir and how you resolved it.
  4. How would you interact with a volunteer who has offered to take on a task but hasn't followed through? How do you determine how much responsibility to give them? How do you decide when it is appropriate to step in, take over and make sure the task gets done?

Non-profit organizational skills

  1. Describe your experience working with a non-profit board and/or committees? What would be some of the challenges of being the only paid staff within an organization of volunteers?
  2. How do you manage stress in a work or personal setting? How do you manage conflict in relationships?
  3. How do you recognize and deal with burnout in yourself and chorus members? What is your level of comfort in delegating responsibility as a leader?
  4. Describe your ability to work on your own/ self-initiative. How do you balance offering strong leadership while working with a staff team?
  5. Describe your experience working with a board of directors in a non-profit setting.
  6. Describe your experience working with financial statements and budgets.

Misc

  1. Describe your experience working with diverse populations and flexibility in working with a diverse group of volunteers and personalities. Maybe prompt for GLBT connections if they don't go there: also cross-cultural situation, singers who are blind or with other disabilities…
  2. Experience working with diverse populations…
  3. The Chorus utilizes other arts mediums (dance, collaborations, etc) as a way of making our choral music accessible to a wide variety of audience members, and particularly audience members who may be less familiar with choral music. Are you comfortable working with a choreographer and/or with other community collaborations?
  4. What would you identify as the primary challenges of a position like this?
  5. What are your hopes in working with this organization? Where would you like to take it in a year? In five years?
  6. What do you need from a supervisor? What have previous supervisors said about your work?
  7. Describe your ability to work evenings and weekends, flexible schedules during performances.
  8. Are there any other skills we haven't touched on you'd like to share with us?
  9. What uniquely qualifies for this position? What do you want us to remember when we consider you as an applicant?

Closing

Describe salary range if they have not seen it on job description. Outline benefit structure.

Outline timeline and next steps in the hiring process. Ask about their timeline. Give each applicant an org calendar for the year.

Question for References: "If this person left your organization would you hire them back?"

Jane Ramseyer Miller, GALA Artistic Director in Residence
ArtisticDirector@ovmc.org
Draft 9/14/2010