Executive Director, Boston Conservatory at Berklee - Tenders Global

Executive Director, Boston Conservatory at Berklee

Berklee College of Music


Job Description:

Boston Conservatory at Berklee (“BCB” or “the Conservatory”)—one of the nation’s most revered conservatories dedicated to the study of music, dance, and theater—invites nominations, expressions of interest, and applications for the position of Executive Director (ED). This is a unique opportunity for a visionary and collaborative leader to strengthen this historic institution, broaden its global reach and reputation, and secure its position among the world’s most innovative and acclaimed contemporary performing arts education organizations.

Founded in 1867, just two years after the Civil War, BCB is the oldest performing arts conservatory of its kind in the United States. It was among the first conservatories to admit Black artists and women, the first to establish a department for grand opera, the first to grant degrees in music education and musical theater, and the first to establish an integrated department of ballet and modern dance. For more than 155 years, BCB has been challenging norms and setting new standards for what an arts education can be. In December 2015, the Berklee and Boston Conservatory boards each voted unanimously to merge the two institutions, creating the world’s most comprehensive and dynamic training ground for music, dance, theater, and related professions. Now part of the larger Berklee institution, an expansive global network, BCB is in a stronger position than ever to transform the conservatory educational model and offer students a unique and powerful learning experience that sets a new standard for 21st-century careers in the performing arts.

Reporting to the President of Berklee and serving as BCB’s senior executive officer, the ED will provide oversight and vision for all aspects of academic, artistic, and administrative life within the Conservatory, and will be a key member of Berklee’s leadership team. This person will join campus at a time when the community seeks a leader who can strengthen the Conservatory’s distinct identity while also guiding it in realizing the full potential of the merger. In addition to furthering the quality, range, and impact of BCB’s academic offerings, supporting faculty and student achievement, and developing new platforms for nurturing and promoting artistic excellence, the ED will galvanize the Conservatory community toward the future, leading them through the next critical stages of growth for this storied institution. This will include designing and implementing transformative programs and initiatives that advance BCB’s mission to provide students with a world class, contemporary performing and creative arts education; identifying strategic internal and external partnerships that further enrich BCB’s strengths in contemporary art forms; and building strong relationships that elevate the Conservatory on a global stage.

The successful candidate will have a record of achievement that inspires the Conservatory community and resonates with the core mission of the institution; a collaborative leadership style that invites participation from diverse groups of stakeholders; an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit; a demonstrated commitment to advancing the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, community, and belonging; experience with the fiscal and operational leadership of a complex unit; an appreciation for faculty expertise and the norms of higher education; a deep understanding of the ways in which the arts and higher education landscapes are changing; the ability to galvanize different stakeholders around a shared purpose and lead a community through change; and a demonstrated aptitude for fundraising, institutional

development, and building strategic partnerships that advance an organization’s mission.

BCB has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in the recruitment of its next ED. Please direct all applications, nominations, and inquiries to Isaacson, Miller, as indicated at the end of this document.


Founded in 1867, Boston Conservatory is the nation’s oldest performing arts conservatory to offer fully accredited programs in music, dance, and theater focused on training exceptional young performing and creative artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its multidisciplinary environment and deep community engagement, the school is internationally recognized as a leader among conservatory programs focused on elevating and celebrating every aspect of the contemporary performing and creative arts.

The BCB community is international, with a student body that hails from more than 35 countries. Conservatory Music Division alumni have graced the world’s great stages and concert halls, performing with the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as many other leading music organizations throughout the world. Dance alumni work in virtually every major company in the US, including Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, José Limón, the Boston Ballet, Paul Taylor, and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. Theater alumni have worked on major TV series and in countless Broadway productions including “Wicked,” “Kinky Boots,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Hamilton, “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Ain’t No Mo’,” “Hadestown,” “The Lion King,” “The Music Man,” and “Beetlejuice.” The Conservatory ranked fifth on the Playbill 2022 “Big Ten” list of the most represented colleges on Broadway, and is a consistent top pick by publications and organizations rating dance programs, including a top-two ranking by College Magazine in 2020.

Berklee , and the Berklee College of Music , was founded on jazz, the music of the African diaspora, and the revolutionary philosophy that the best way to prepare students for more relevant and impactful careers is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 71 years, the College has evolved to reflect the current state of the music and entertainment industries, leading the way with studies in performance, writing, production, music business/management, music and health, screen scoring, new technologies, and much more.

The strategic underpinning of the merger of BCB and Berklee is the belief that music, movement, theater, entrepreneurship, and digital technology are converging to give artists powerful new means and pathways for creative expression. The combined institution is poised to set a new standard for exploring original art forms; breaking down boundaries that isolate genres; providing emerging generations of students with an educational experience that aligns with evolving art forms, creative practices, and industries; and unleashing the tremendous creative potential of the global arts community as its members bridge cultures, communities, and disciplines.

With a focus on global learning, Berklee has campuses in Boston, New York , Valencia, Spain , and Abu Dhabi . On the Boston campus are the College’s more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, taught by 772 faculty members and supported by a staff of 834. The Conservatory’s 687 undergraduate and 196 graduate students are taught by 247 faculty members across three academic divisions for music , dance , and theater and supported by a staff of 66. The New York campus hosts 25 faculty, 7 staff, and 95 students; the Valencia campus hosts 104 faculty and staff, 168 graduate students, and 148 undergraduate study abroad students; and the Abu Dhabi campus hosts 4 staff, a small group of visiting faculty and artists, and 58 students. Berklee Online serves tens of thousands of distance learners worldwide with single courses and degree-granting programs, as well as the more than 1.8 million people registered in Berklee massive open online courses (MOOCs). Additionally, the Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in 46 locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Ecuador.

Overall, the Berklee student body represents more than 95 countries, with alumni and faculty who, at last count, have won more than 297 Grammys, 120 Latin Grammys, 25 Emmys, seven Academy Awards, and five Tony Awards. Berklee’s alumni form an ever-widening network of industry professionals who use their openness, virtuosity, and versatility to take the performing and creative arts in surprising new directions. Notable alumni include Ebony Williams, Josh Grisetti, Constantine Maroulis, Alisha Umphress, Bradley Gibson, Marchant Davis, Jonathan Heyward, Victoria Livengood, Stephanie Umoh, Erin Davie, Kylie Jefferson, Charlie Puth, Molly Tuttle, Adrienne Lenker, Miguel Zenon, and Amy Allen.

Berklee is supported by an endowment of $386 million and has an annual operating budget of $228 million. BCB has an annual operating budget of $35.8 million.


The ED of BCB reports to the President of Berklee and serves as the senior executive officer of the Conservatory. The ED provides oversight and vision for all aspects of academic, artistic, and administrative life within the Conservatory, including strategic planning, fiscal management, academic programs and curricula, accreditation, faculty and staff hiring and development, and student recruitment and success. The ED will also represent the Conservatory externally, engaging in institutional advancement activities, building and maintaining strategic partnerships with various stakeholder and support communities—for instance, advisory board members, local arts communities and organizations in the Boston area, Back Bay neighbors and neighborhood associations, and other industry, institutional, and government

organizations—and strengthening the Conservatory’s reputation and reach globally. As part of the leadership team of Berklee, the ED will provide input on the strategic direction for the entire institution, ensure the strategic vision for the Conservatory is appropriately aligned with that of Berklee at large, and represent the Conservatory to the Berklee Board of Trustees as appropriate.

The ED’s work is inherently collaborative. This person will work in close partnership with many colleagues within BCB and across Berklee—including in Academic Affairs, Student Enrollment and Engagement, Administration, Finance, Institutional Advancement, Communications and Marketing, Human Resources, External Affairs, and POPP (Pre-College, Online, and Professional Programs)—both to strengthen the Conservatory’s distinct identity and to fully realize the potential of the merger. All Berklee faculty contract and collective bargaining agreement issues, including at the Conservatory, are overseen by the Executive Vice President/Provost and the Senior Vice President of Human Resources, who will work closely with the ED on such issues as they relate to the Conservatory.

Reporting to the ED are the Conservatory’s deans of music, theater, and dance, and its associate vice president for administration, senior business officer, and senior project manager. The ED will also have a designated specialist for coordination and support in areas including, but not limited to, student affairs, external relations, admissions, finance, institutional advancement, and human resources.


Building upon the strong foundation that already exists, the ED will address the following challenges and strive to use them as opportunities to propel the Conservatory to even greater eminence:

Craft and implement a strategic plan for the Conservatory

Boston Conservatory was founded in 1867 with the belief that superior music education is achieved by building strong connections with students, and that all students—regardless of gender or race—should have the opportunity to excel. Since then, BCB’s many leaders have built upon this core premise, creating a storied institution that centers community, connection, and inclusivity as hallmarks of the learning experience. It was among the first conservatories to admit Black artists and women, the first to establish a department for grand opera, the first to grant degrees in music education and musical theater, and the first to establish an integrated department of ballet and modern dance—BCB has always been an innovative force in the field. The ED will inherit a school and community that are eager to build on this history.

The Conservatory’s current strategic direction , which was set to guide the institution through 2025, has seen some traction in spite of challenges introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, in close partnership with the President of Berklee and fellow institutional leaders, the ED will have the opportunity to lead the BCB community in crafting and implementing a new strategic plan for the Conservatory that honors its distinct history and pushes the bounds of what conservatory education can be, ensuring BCB remains among the most entrepreneurial, revered institutions in performing arts education.

Realize the full potential of the merger with Berklee

The merger between the Conservatory and Berklee has enabled new opportunities that would not have existed otherwise. This partnership has facilitated the launch of the Conservatory’s new three-year BFA program in commercial dance, and Berklee’s focus on global engagement has enabled the Conservatory to begin exploring new opportunities around the world. That said, the Covid-19 pandemic and recent senior leadership transitions have prevented Berklee and BCB from realizing the full potential of the merger. In close concert with the president, the provost, and the executive directors of the College, Berklee Valencia, and Berklee NYC, the ED will identify and pursue strategic opportunities that could only arise by melding the strengths of these institutions. These will range in scope from high-level strategic planning efforts to operational best practices and aligned systems and processes, and will cut across the

full scope of artistic and academic activities at the institution. In this work, the ED will place a particular emphasis on strengthening the student experience and helping students to navigate and benefit from the rich opportunities that exist at the combined institution. In doing so, the ED will endeavor to strengthen the Conservatory’s distinct identity while simultaneously setting the stage for the combined institution to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Assess and strengthen the organizational practices of the Conservatory

The arts and higher education landscapes are rapidly changing, as are the systems, structures, programs, and practices that institutions of higher learning must adopt in order to successfully prepare students to succeed in the 21st century. The ED will lead the BCB community in assessing and refining the academic, administrative, and operational work of the institution, bringing a fresh perspective and guiding the community in implementing best practices that allow the Conservatory to respond to shifting national and global trends. In these efforts, the ED will embrace an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset, question the usual ways of doing things, and develop and strengthen practices that support the faculty, staff, and student experiences. The ED will be student-centric in their approach to this work, ensuring the

Conservatory is structured and staffed appropriately to nurture, teach, and care for the talented students who choose to attend.

Promote diversity in all facets of the Conservatory

BCB and Berklee are deeply human-centered institutions that espouse deep care and respect for all people. To this end, they are committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and antiracist campus community that enables and encourages people from all walks of life to flourish. Diversity is one of three pillars of the Conservatory’s 2020-2025 strategic direction , which includes demographic, curricular, artistic, and cultural change considerations, and the institution publicly shares progress toward its diversity-related goals . Berklee’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion supports these efforts across the entire institution, guided by a comprehensive DEI framework . The ED will continue to build on the solid foundation that already exists, further aligning enrollment, financial, marketing, and advancement

strategies in support of the goal of fully embodying these values as a community.

Further the Conservatory’s regional, national, and global reputation, reach, and presence

BCB enjoys a healthy reputation in each of its three divisions. Representing more than 35 countries, students already come to BCB from around the world. That said, especially as we approach the demographic cliff, the Conservatory would benefit from strengthening its reputation regionally, nationally, and worldwide. As BCB’s senior-most leader, the ED holds primary responsibility for this task. To this end, the ED will engage in activities that bring new renown to the institution, strengthening the already acclaimed faculty and student bodies through strategic recruitment activities, broadcasting the excellent work of the faculty and students, developing meaningful partnerships with relevant organizations in the greater Boston area and beyond, and leveraging the unique resources that exist at Berklee to strengthen the Conservatory’s reputation, reach, and presence on a truly global scale.

Strengthen the Conservatory’s sense of community and overall morale

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are fiercely dedicated to the Conservatory, and their passion for the place is palpable and deeply rooted. The years following the merger brought great excitement and expanded potential for the Conservatory. At the same time, the last few years have not been without their challenges; as has been the case on many campuses across the country in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, morale at the Conservatory has been impacted. In this context, the next ED must be a skilled listener and advocate, who will hear and respond to these concerns, establish a sense of stability, and strengthen the feeling of community that has anchored BCB since its founding. In this work, the ED will attend carefully to the Conservatory’s culture and lead with care and emotional intelligence.

Develop new resources that enable the Conservatory to achieve its ambitions

Conservatories are very expensive institutions to run, owing to the nature of instruction, the necessity of maintaining facilities, and the imperative to provide increasing levels of aid to students. In addition, entrepreneurial efforts and innovative programs also often require significant resources. The ED will be empowered by the president and supported by Institutional Advancement in the work of cultivating new donors, stewarding existing donors, developing new strategic partnerships both locally and globally, and boosting alumni engagement. The ED will represent the Conservatory skillfully to these groups, build

meaningful and authentic relationships with many, diverse external partners, and leverage these relationships for the benefit of the BCB community.


The successful candidate will possess many, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, skills, and experiences:

• A record of achievement that inspires the Conservatory community and resonates with the core mission of the institution; an advanced degree in a field that complements the identity of the Conservatory is required; an earned terminal degree is highly preferred.

• Passion for the combined mission, strategic goals, and objectives of Berklee and BCB; a demonstrated commitment to nurturing the growth of the world’s most inspired musicians, dancers, and actors so that they may fully realize their artistic, creative, and career potential.

• Proven ability to work with and support faculty and students; an understanding and appreciation of faculty expertise and the norms of higher education.

• Possession of excellent interpersonal and communication skills; the ability to effectively engage and lead constituencies who hold different points of view; commitment to the highest standard of personal ethics and integrity; the ability to inspire trust and build consensus.

• A collaborative approach to leadership and management that invites participation from diverse groups of stakeholders; an ability to lead change efforts in a complex, matrixed organization.

• Experience leading a community through a strategic planning or visioning exercise and successfully implementing the resulting strategic plan or initiatives.

• An entrepreneurial spirit; experience developing new programs, processes, and systems that enable a community to focus even more deeply on their artistic and academic work.

• Experience managing budgets, including the ability to prioritize and allocate resources effectively to drive innovation, growth, and overall success.

• A proven track record in or demonstrated aptitude for fundraising; the ability to represent an organization to external audiences and cultivate relationships with donors.

• Commitment to the highest level of cultural competence, with values, ethics, and principles that align with those of the Berklee and BCB communities, in which every voice is valued and respected and where a diverse and inclusive work and learning environment is essential.

• A deep understanding of the changing national and international landscapes of the arts and higher education; experience leveraging this understanding to implement best practices and strengthen an organization.


Boston Conservatory at Berklee has retained the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in this search. All applications, nominations, and inquiries should be sent in confidence to:

Katie Rockman, Partner

Keith Mason, Managing Associate

Damla Williams, Associate


This document does not create an employment contract, implied or otherwise, other than an “at will” employment relationship.


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Equal Employment Opportunity at Berklee : 

We support an inclusive workplace where everyone excels based on personal merit, qualifications, experience, ability, and job performance.  Berklee affirms that inequality is detrimental to our faculty, staff, students, and the communities we serve. Our goal is to make lasting change through our actions. Berklee is committed to providing fair and equitable consideration of all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, place of birth, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, genetic information, or status as a member of the armed forces or veteran of the armed forces, or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law.

As part of this commitment, Berklee will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact the Human Resources Team at [email protected] or call 617-747-2375.

Berklee is committed to increasing the diversity of our institution, community, and the curriculum. Candidates who can contribute to that goal are encouraged to apply and to identify their strengths in this area.

*Currently enrolled Berklee students are not permitted to apply for staff or faculty positions.*

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