Executive Director: University of Chicago Presents

Byala Search LLC

Chicago, IL 60637




Feb 10, 2023

UChicago Presents (UCP) seeks a visionary Executive Director who can imagine and realize UChicago Presents’ next chapter, with experience and standing in the performance and cultural world and a track record of excellence in leading community and educational programming.

Reporting jointly to the Chair of the Department of Music and the Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts, the Executive Director of UChicago Presents (UCP) will have the primary goal of assembling a comprehensive program of compelling performances. This program will continue the University’s longstanding commitment to excellence in musical performance as well as its recent expansion into related fields, including dance, theater, and interdisciplinary performance. The Executive Director will cultivate relationships with faculty, particularly those from the Department of Music, Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS), and other academic units in the arts, integrating UCP into the University’s curriculum and crafting a long-term vision that situates UChicago Presents as a destination for exhilarating performance and raising its profile on campus, in the local community, and among its peers.


Ideal skills and experience
Minimum seven years of leadership experience in a music or related organization proximate to or within an academic institution and/or university environments.
Expertise in or knowledge of at least one of the following: classical music, new music, jazz music, global music, experimental performance, and other forms of performance. In addition the ideal candidate will also be up to date on current trends in other live arts, such as dance, theater, and spoken word.
Highly effective communicator and collaborator with a wide variety of constituencies, including artists, faculty, students, staff, community arts leaders, and diverse audiences.
An effective fundraiser with a track record of relationship-building among a broad and diverse community of stakeholders.
An understanding of the importance of digital technology and social media as platforms for today’s concert-going audience with the potential to strengthen the visitor experience, enhance educational goals, and build momentum.
Reflect the standards and imagination of the University of Chicago and an openness to interdisciplinary work combined with the capacity to attract top talent to perform.
Eagerness to work in a university setting, understanding how music and performance bolster and support creative thinking across different academic disciplines; appreciation for the complementary relationship between artistic and scholarly activity.

Specific Responsibilities in the following areas include but are not limited to:
Establish UCP as a visionary series, one that regularly presents the most exciting, compelling, and innovative work across a range of forms, encompassing music, dance, theater, and interdisciplinary performance.
Work with the Chair of the Department of Music and the Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts to formulate a strategic plan for UCP that reflects the Executive Director’s curatorial vision, the University’s goals, and recent developments in music and other performing arts.
Set organizational priorities and create a framework for accountability supported by consistent messaging across all platforms, clearly articulating the mission of UChicago Presents to all constituencies.
Reflect the University’s commitments to innovation, diversity and inclusion.

Work closely with curricular units in the arts (e.g., Department of Music, TAPS, the Department of Visual Arts, etc.), and interested faculty in other units to develop programming with links to University curricula.
Develop and program innovative seasons, building on current offerings in classical, world, jazz and experimental music while also reflecting the vitality, importance, and appeal of other art forms in contemporary performance.
Cultivate relationships in various fields of music and other art forms as well as with relevant presenters across the US by attending conferences and convenings.
Identify opportunities to which UCP can lend its name, support or audience.

Cultivate deep professional relationships with faculty in the arts as well as other interested faculty in the Humanities Division and across campus to glean ideas and ambitions as well as pathways into the classroom and curricula.
Raise the profile of UCP on campus and off as a destination for audiences to experience unique programming; promote UCP as a concert and performance resource to students, faculty and the public.
Work with University Alumni Relations and Development and dedicated UCP and arts fundraisers to prospect, cultivate and solicit donors; maintain strong relationships with donors, including subscribers, community leaders and corporate partners to build UCP’s donor base, to inspire transformational gifts and long-term funding.
Work with grants and fellowship staff in the Humanities Division in the pursuit of foundation and other grants to support UCP performances and programming as well as participating in broader arts initiatives that lead to increased funding across the arts.
Collaborate with the Director of the Department of Music’s Performance Program to ensure coordinated scheduling between UCP and the various ensembles of the Performance Program to create broader music audiences and consumers.