Music Director Search
Music director for major symphony orchestra (hereinafter referred to as the MSO).
The MSO is seeking a conductor at the highest international level, meaning that he must already hold a minimum
of two other time-consuming and energy-sapping positions, preferably each on a different continent. Because experience
is paramount, and because the search committee is petrified at the prospect of trying to assess the talents of
younger conductors, the MSO will give strong preference to candidates who are at least fifty years of age, unless
Simon Rattle becomes available. Female candidates are invited to apply for this position, with the understanding
that the chances of a woman actually being hired are about the same as the chances of John Ashcroft being invited
to Gloria Steinem's house for dinner.
Since the MSO is an American institution and deeply proud of its place in our national cultural life, American
conductors will be grudgingly considered for this position. American applicants are strongly encouraged to have
either been born abroad or to have worked in Europe for most of their careers, so as to impart to clueless board
members a reassuringly cosmopolitan air. Special consideration will be given to foreign candidates with charming
All applicants must demonstrate a command of, and an overwhelming personal preference for, the tried-and-true standard
orchestral repertoire. At the same time they must be able to feign enough interest in contemporary music to cash
in on any big-ticket grant opportunities. Relatedly, the successful candidate will take no meaningful position
with respect to the question of revitalizing or modifying in any way the concert experience itself, although he
will from time to time be expected to say that this is an interesting idea that should be explored.
The MSO will require the new music director to spend a minimum number of weeks with the orchestra. Ideally that
number will be large enough to permit him to memorize the name of the doorman at his apartment building. Also the
address of his apartment building. Off the podium, the new music director will be expected to appear at a reasonable
number of achingly stiff post-concert receptions, and occasionally even dine with a small group of addled elderly
donors. The music director will also be encouraged to be available to the media, and to work into all interviews
the phrase, “...a very special privilege for me to make music with this world-class ensemble.”
The salary of the new music director shall be commensurate with whatever grotesquely bloated and indefensible fees
he currently pulls down. As a matter of policy, and to look good in the trades, the MSO guarantees to match the
applicant's highest current salary plus 20 percent.
To help the search committee evaluate billboard and album-cover potential, each applicant is asked to forward an
8-by-10 color glossy of himself wearing either: (a) a full-length overcoat fashioned of buttery soft Napa leather;
or (b) a comfortable Eddie Bauer flannel shirt and some jeans.
The MSO will not consider any applicants whose materials arrive after the published deadline, except for the applications
of really desirable candidates, or certain veteran journeymen who might suddenly be vaulted into the running if
the early phases of the search yield basically nothing. The search committee's decision will be made within the
next year, or two at the most, and will be announced in irritating increments via newspaper articles based on incomplete
information leaked to local critics.
Submitted by Justin Locke