Artistic Director Job Summary

Organization - Pacific Youth Choir

Pacific Youth Choir’s mission is to change lives through high level choral artistry in an open, joyful, and nurturing environment.  Through practice, performance, and education singers build their skills and emerge as confident young adults with a lifelong love of music. PYC strives to inspire audiences as they work together to create musical excellence.

The choir presents five to six performances in Portland from November through May.  In recent years, PYC has performed at the American Choral Directors Associations regional and national conferences, the Chanticleer Festival, the Eric Whitacre festival, and regularly appears on performances with the Oregon Symphony and Pink Martini.

Pacific Youth Choir  (PYC) has presented North American premieres and new commissions by contemporary composers Robert Kyr, Judy Rose, Rollo Dilworth, Judith Herrington. 

Founded in 2003, PYC attracts approximately 300 students annually. PYC offers programs for students of different ages and abilities, providing instruction to those seeking a professional music career, as well as those who simply want to experience the joy and benefits of singing. Financial aid and scholarships are awarded each year to more than 50% of its students. PYC choirs rehearse once a week, on Sunday.

PYC is committed to making choral opportunities accessible to all through innovative programs, dynamic performances, and collaborative partnerships. PYC@Neighborhood Choir program offers youth in underserved neighborhoods access to 28 weeks of high-quality choral opportunities free of charge — developing self-esteem, discipline, a strong work ethic, and a life-long appreciation for the arts. PYC@Neighborhood Choir students perform in mid-year and year-end showcases for their peers and families.

PYC is dedicated to creating initiatives that welcome diverse audiences and participants to its performances and community engagement programs. PYC is an equal opportunity employer and recognizes its collective responsibility to embrace and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all aspects and levels of the organization, including artistic programming, talent recruiting and retention, training, workplace culture, and community engagement.

PYC is governed by a board of directors that provide high-level support and oversight to the organization.  Day-to-day operations of the choir are coordinated by the artistic director and managing director.


Portland, Oregon’s largest city, sits on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood. Affectionately known as the City of Roses, it’s known for its parks, bridges, public transportation, and bicycle paths, as well as for its eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses. The city hosts thriving art, theater and music scenes. 

Portland is the perfect launchpad for adventure, with the vast Oregon Coast, snow-capped Mount Hood, verdant wine country, and epic waterfalls all within easy driving distance of the city. Whether your interests are surfing, skiing, sipping, or just trying something new, the regions outside Portland are ripe for exploration. 

Position Summary

The artistic director will provide inspirational leadership and set the organization’s artistic vision with a focus on collaboration and community engagement. The artistic director has a deep understanding of vocal pedagogy and/or functional voice training specializing in youth voices. An ever increasing extensive knowledge of diverse choral repertoire guides the artistic director in creating challenging, diverse, and exciting programs. This individual will cultivate and deepen relationships by engaging with students, audiences, funders, and community partners, activating the organization’s growth and reputation locally, nationally, and internationally. The artistic director will collaborate regularly and transparently with all parts of the organization, including the board, staff, faculty, guest artists, and singers. The artistic director will ensure that all artistic decisions are made with a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.

Major Roles and Responsibilities
  • Artistic Creativity and Programming
  • Conceive, plan, and develop PYC’s artistic vision, clearly and passionately articulating that vision to singers, staff, board, funders, and audiences.
  • Program concerts that include a diverse range of composers, musical styles, and generes, paying particular attention to traditionally underrepresented and emerging talent.  Ensure diversity in soloists, guest performers, musicians, and performance locations. 
  • Supervise all rehearsals, concerts, recordings, and educational programs of PYC adhering to PYC’s mission. 
  • Mentor and nurture singers, advocating for their best interests while respecting their individuality and unique talents and directing, teaching, and supervising rehearsals.
Community Engagement and External Relations
  • Collaborate with other local arts organizations, including the Oregon Symphony and develop new and innovative strategic partnerships.
  • Cultivate and maintain strong and meaningful collaborations outside of the Portland region, building awareness of the organization and strengthening its brand and reputation.
  • Serve as the official public spokesperson for the organization. 
  • Maintain authentic relationships with individual donors, corporate sponsors, and other funders in collaboration with the development plan; attend fundraising events.
  • Embrace other community engagement and external relation activities as required.
  • Organizational Leadership and Collaboration
  • Partner with the managing director in developing and executing the strategic planning process under the direction of the board, unifying the artistic mission with organizational priorities, including a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.
  • Contribute towards education and community engagement initiatives by developing new programs and attending school performances.
  • Attend PYC Board meetings and present an artistic director’s report detailing the status of artistic programs and projects.
  • Embrace other organizational leadership and collaboration activities as required.
Traits and Characteristics

The new artistic director will be an inspiring and charismatic leader dedicated to the singers’ well-being and artistry while staying engaged with all parts of the organization, including the singers, staff, and board. The artistic director will have a strong understanding of both classical and modern vocal literature. The ideal candidate will be inherently curious, constantly learning, and actively seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth. The artistic director must be committed to advancing the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in all artistic decisions with innate love and respect for young people.

Other key competencies of this role include:
  • Leadership and Diplomacy – The capacity to facilitate cooperation between groups or individuals, tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues, treat all parties fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and build positive and productive relationships through addressing organizational challenges.
  • Personal Accountability – The credibility to meet the highest ethical standards in daily activity and in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable artistic and financial goals to build trust in an atmosphere of transparency and honesty.
  • Planning and Organizing – The dexterity to prioritize and complete tasks within allotted time frames while establishing courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively.
  • Teamwork and Resiliency – The ability to cooperate and collaborate with others to meet objectives while quickly adapting to unexpected circumstances.

PYC requires a bachelor's degree in vocal performance, choral music education, conducting (or related fields) OR 10 years of conducting experience with a minimum of five years conducting high school aged singers (ages 14-18)

Qualified candidates will demonstrate skills in artistic leadership, relationship building, and community engagement. The successful candidate may or may not be an active composer but should possess a deep understanding of choral opportunities as well as broad connections within the choral field nationally and internationally. Deep knowledge of current trends within the choral sector is expected. Candidates should have an ability to inspire singers to perform at their highest level. Strong writing and public speaking skills and a commitment to choral education are expected.

Compensation and Benefits 

PYC provides a competitive compensation package commensurate with experience and qualifications. Benefits include 10 days annual paid time off; contribution to cover medical, dental, vision, and life insurance; flexible dependent care plans; stipend for professional development, and professional organization membership.

Application Process

All applicants must submit an online application.  The initial application includes a cv (or related information) cover letter, short answers to 5 questions, and two letters of references. Initial applications are due by April 30, 2022.  Following review of the initial applications, a small number of applicants will be asked to submit additional information including videos of the applicant and sample programs. PYC will bring the top candidates to Portland in the fall of 2022 (September/October) to work with the choirs and meet the selection committee.

Deadline Extended to April 30

To view a copy of the complete job description, click here.

To begin the application process, click here. 

If you have questions, please email Brian Parrott at

Deadline Extended to April 30

To view a copy of the complete job description, click here.

To begin the application process, click here.