Washington Concert Opera Staff

  • Artistic Director & Conductor: Antony Walker
  • Executive Director: Nancy E. Petrisko
  • Operations Manager: Adrianne Eby
  • Development Manager: Cory Davis
  • Marketing Assistant: Whitney Diamond
  • Head Volunteer: Sheridan Harvey
  • Chorus Contractor: Douglas Dykstra
  • Orchestra Contractor: Pamela Lassell

Position Opening: Executive Director

Washington Concert Opera (“WCO”) is seeking a new Executive Director to lead the organization.  WCO was founded in 1986, and has just completed its 28th season of presenting infrequently-performed operatic works in concert and, occasionally, in semi-staged format.  WCO is a fully professional organization which has received wide critical and audience acclaim for its consistent artistic excellence.  The Company is well noted for presenting established major artists in principal roles new to them and rising young singers early in their careers.  In recent years, WCO has presented two productions each Season, and has functioned with an annual operating budget ranging from $700,000 to $800,000.

WCO’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Antony Walker, is now completing his thirteenth year in those roles.  In addition to his major commitment to WCO, Maestro Walker serves as Music Director of Pittsburgh Opera, and has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Santa Fe Opera and, most recently, at Washington National Opera among others.  He returns regularly to his native Australia for performances with Opera Australia and with Pinchgut Opera, of which he is founder and Co-Artistic Director.

The Executive Director (the “ED”) will oversee, and provide leadership for, the operations and finances of WCO and, in close professional partnership with the Artistic Director, the season and concert productions.  The ED will be expected to exercise initiative in establishing and implementing objectives, in close cooperation with WCO’s Officers and Directors and the Artistic Director, and through effective management and utilization of WCO’s small professional staff and volunteers.

WCO’s Board of Directors has adopted certain organizational and programmatic goals involving growth and expansion (to include adding more productions and performances to each season, and attracting younger audiences), and has identified capacity-building efforts necessary to achieve these goals.  In order to achieve these goals, the Board expects the Executive Director to assume the full-time leadership and management of these initiatives.

The primary responsibilities of the Executive Director are set forth in the accompanying Position Description.


- Experience in management of arts organization(s), with responsibility for operational success, including especially marketing and donor development.

- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

- Proven experience and expertise in website management and development, and utilization of social media.

- Demonstrated expertise in budget development and management, and financial management oversight; familiarity with QuickBooks accounting system a plus.

- Demonstrated high level of interpersonal skills, including collaboration, team-building, inclusion, consensus-building, and creation of effective working relationships with, and ability to motivate, others including staff, Officers and Directors and volunteers.

- Bachelor’s degree; graduate studies/degree in arts/non-profit management a plus.

- Direct experience in, and/or understanding of, the specific challenges related to the management of a performing arts company in North America.

To apply for this position:  E-mail a current resume/CV and cover letter, addressed to WCO Search Committee and including the names and contact information of three or more professional and/or personal references with whom WCO is authorized to consult, to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Please communicate with us only by e-mail.  Communications in other forms will not be accepted.

Applications should be submitted by Friday, May 1, 2015.

Please indicate in your submission when you would be available to assume this position.  Availability on or about July 1, 2015, is WCO’s present goal.  However, such availability date is subject to discussion with WCO.

For further information regarding Washington Concert Opera, please visit our website at:  http://www.concertopera.org.

I. Overview.
The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, acting through the President and the Executive Committee.  The Executive Director is expected to lead and initiate the development and implementation of strategies to grow the audience for WCO’s productions; raise funds in support of WCO’s mission; and communicate with the Board, donors, media and the public generally.  The Executive Director also supports the production needs of the Artistic Director, and is responsible for day-to-day financial management and operations.

II. Increasing Audience Size.
The Executive Director works with the Board and the Artistic Director to achieve WCO’s goals of increasing audience size to permit two performances of one or both of our present two opera productions per season and, as soon as feasible, the introduction of a third production into the season.  To this end, the Executive Director shall research and review strategies which have worked for other organizations and develop proposals for consideration by the Board. 

III. Development.
The Executive Director shall support and coordinate Board fundraising activities by helping to identify and cultivate potential donors and other sources of funds including foundations, corporations and government agencies (including embassies).  The Executive Director shall manage the preparation of grant applications and participate in making donor “asks,” as appropriate.  The Executive Director shall support WCO events and benefits and, in general, shall take all steps necessary to maintain good relations with donors and potential donors.

IV. Communications.
The Executive Director is responsible for the timely and professional production of all WCO marketing materials, including the season brochure, press releases, advertisements and outreach through social media.  The Executive Director shall develop and maintain press and other media relationships and shall maintain, update and expand the WCO website.

V. Internal Management. 
The Executive Director shall work with the Artistic Director to assure that all activities and matters relating to WCO’s productions are carried out in a timely and efficient manner.  Such activities include working with applicable labor unions, the staff of performance and rehearsal venues, artists’ agents (including preparation and securing of contracts); and fulfilling artists’ requirements, such as transportation and lodging.  Production activities also include preparation of performance programs, arranging for artists’ receptions and post-performance events, as well as supervision of matters relating to ticket sales.

The Executive Director’s responsibilities in the area of financial management include preparation with the President, Treasurer and Finance Committee of the annual operating budget, managing the Board-approved budget, and reporting on same to the Board.  Responsibilities also include day-to-day financial management of the office in compliance with WCO’s established financial procedures.

The Executive Director attends all Board, Executive Committee and other Committee meetings (other than executive sessions) and provides Board members with timely financial and other information for Board meetings.  Finally, the Executive Director supervises the work of WCO staff, volunteers and consultants.