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Interview questions for potential conductors?

Our community chorus is in the midst of a director search. We are preparing for interviews now and I would appreciate advice on questions that you have found particularly helpful in the screening/hiring process. Many thanks in advance!
Sheila Hoover
President, Santiam Hearts to Arts
Member, Santiam Canyon Community Chorus
on July 14, 2014 11:07am
Hello Sheila,
We hired a new director 2 years ago and these are the interview questions we used. We're very happy with our final selection so our process worked well. You can find helpful resources on the Chorus America website too.
Susan Metz, Marketing Manager
Monmouth Civic Chorus
Red Bank NJ
(using a shared login name)
Interview Questions - DRAFT v3
How will you go about establishing rapport with the chorus?
What would be your top priorities in the first 30 days of the position of AD?
How do you define a good rehearsal?  What unique resources might you use for rehearsal purposes?
How do you handle a chorus member whose musical skills are not up to expectations of the chorus?
How do you plan to get to know the voices and abilities of each member of the chorus?
Tell us about your proudest achievements?
How would your current/past chorus members characterize your personality?
If you were offered the job as AD of the MCC, what would be your goals for the chorus?
What are your strategies for increasing the artistry of the chorus?
What ideas do you have for engaging the community?
What ideas do you have for expanding our audience? Membership? Donor base?
How do you plan to engage attention of everyone during rehearsals?  Scenario:   The (altos) need work on a certain passage.  You realize that it is taking awhile to achieve your goal with the (altos). How will you engage the rest of the choir at that time?
How long will your commute be to our weekly rehearsals on Tuesday evenings? 
Can you arrive by 7:30 every Tuesday for rehearsals? 
Are you available on occasion to come before rehearsal begins,  or on an additional evening from time to time,  to hear auditions or for sectionals and/or preparation of soloists from the chorus?
How will you create opportunities for members of the chorus, such as using soloists from the chorus in concerts?
How will you balance repertoire (core works and adventuresome works/world premieres)?
Do you have an accompanist that you prefer to use at rehearsals and/or the concerts?
To what extent do you use the piano in rehearsal? Can you conduct rehearsals without an accompanist, if needed?
Do you have other important commitments, such as college teaching, that might conflict with the time commitment we’ve described for our AD?
Will you have to give up something you are now doing, if you become the AD of MCC?
How would you describe your relationship with your chorus?
We’ve generally scheduled one all-day (10-5) Saturday rehearsal per concert.  Is that a practice you’d want to continue?
(for older candidates)  In your career as a conductor, how long have you typically remained with one organization?
(or for younger ones)  Where do you envision as your career next steps? If appointed as our next Artistic Director, how long do you see this commitment lasting?
MCC has not toured recently, however at one time, we went on summer concert tours every three years.  Is this something you would want to do?
What is your vision for us in terms of repertoire?
What are your resources for identifying guest soloists for our performances?
What are two of your pet peeves that arise during a chorus rehearsal, and how do you handle each of them?
When the concert date comes around and you wish you had another week to rehearse, what aspects of preparation are you willing to leave unfinished?
Our bylaws define the role of the Music Committee.  How do you feel about working with our Music Committee on season programming?
What will you do to continue to grow artistically and professionally?
Who are your favorite choral composers?
What languages have you studied?
What is your experience with music or artistic performances outside of classical music?
Give an example of your leadership impacting an organization such as ours, and what did it accomplish?
What is the most difficult piece you ever conducted and why?
What special organizational skills can you bring to MCC?
What training in vocal pedagogy do you have?
What does it mean to you to be an "artistic figurehead" for MCC?
on July 14, 2014 12:56pm
We recently conducted a very good national search for a new artistic director. Below are questions our search committee developed for our process.
Rick Fisher, Executive Director
Heartland Men's Chorus
Kansas City MO
Phone interview Questions:
  • Why do you wish to leave your current position?
  • What interests you in the Heartland Men’s Chorus?
  • What interests you in Kansas City?
  • In which style or styles of music do you have experience?
  • Tell us about your rehearsal style - how do you inspire a group of volunteers with varying abilities to sing together as a chorus?
  • Tell us about your theater and production experience - How would it support your role with HMC?
  • What experience do you have in working with the gay community?
  • What is your experience with GALA choruses?
  • What is your availability for face to face interviews in December?
  • If offered the position, how soon could you move here?
The following will be reserved for consideration as face-to-face interview questions:
  • What is your experience coaching voice and vocal technique?
  • We see from your resume that you have a (degree) in (type) from (school). Tell us how this helped prepare you for this role?
  • Tell us about your piano skills?
  • What is your fundraising experience?
  • Have you ever worked for a non-profit organization?
  • Do you have experience in preparing a budget?
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