Conductor, Sistema Ravinia (A Social-Change-Through-Music Orchestra Program)

Company Description

Ravinia, North America's oldest music festival, nestled in the Chicago suburbs, stands today as its most musically diverse, presenting over 140 different events throughout the summer. These concerts run the gamut from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend to the annual summer residency of the nation's finest orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Through its REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs, Ravinia brings music to Chicago area schools and communities, thus providing equitable access to music for over 85,000 people in Cook and Lake counties.

Sistema Ravinia is a signature program of REACH*TEACH*PLAY which offers intensive afterschool music education to students in under-resourced schools in Chicago and Lake County.  Sistema Ravinia fosters youth empowerment and social development through exceptional ensemble training. Shaped by the philosophy of the noted El Sistema model, Ravinia has embraced the notion of transforming groups of children into communities of musicians who in turn transform their communities.  Sistema Ravinia students meet daily throughout the year at their nucleos (program sites) and are taught in sectionals and in full orchestra.

Job Description

The Conductor will lead multiple levels of beginning orchestras of elementary and middle school students for Sistema Ravinia at Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School, located in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. They will collaborate with administrators and fellow instructors in selecting repertoire and arrange music as necessary. The children in our program receive little to no music instruction outside of Sistema Ravinia.  Therefore, the administrators, conductor and sectional instructors are responsible for providing a comprehensive music education program for our students.  This includes everything from basic musical concepts, sight-reading and technique to instrument care, practice habits and relating/building bonds with fellow orchestra members.   The conductor will be part of a team of instructors that will inspire all participating students and be responsible for maintaining a standard of excellence for Sistema Ravinia. This is a contract position that averages 4-6 hours per week, reports to the Nucleo (Site) Manager, and is paid an hourly rate. Sistema Ravinia is in session during the school year and 3-5 weeks during the summer.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serve as a conductor and lead ensemble music education instruction for the Sistema Ravinia orchestras at Catalyst Circle Rock
  • Engage students through the development of creative lesson plans that foster social and musical growth
  • Collaborate with the Site Manager to provide high-quality orchestral instruction for every student
  • Communicate effectively with students,  instructors and administrators
  • Assess student progress (social development, musical literacy, proficiency, appreciation) on an ongoing basis
  • Collaborate with the Sistema Ravinia management team to select appropriate repertoire for the orchestras
Skills & Qualifications: 


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Outstanding conducting skills
  • Knowledge of and enthusiasm for El Sistema and its philosophy of social change through music
  • Interest and ability to be a motivational mentor and role model for students, parents, and community
  • Superior interpersonal skills

Education and Experience

  • Strong background in conducting, orchestral repertoire, curriculum, pedagogy, and music education
  • Experience working with young children, youth orchestras or in the El Sistema music education model
  • Bachelor’s degree in music education or performance with 2-3 years related work experience preferred


Additional information

Work Environment

  • Working after school two to three times per week in the Austin neighborhood with some evenings and weekends required for concerts and special activities
  • Interaction with young students, parents and administrators where the safety of the students is paramount
  • This is a collaborative work environment where decision making regarding artistic and pedagogic  direction comes from Sistema Ravinia administrators, conductors, instructors, and students


Ravinia is an equal opportunity employer.


To Apply: 

Submit your Cover Letter and Resume at or by clicking here

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