Executive Director, Interlochen Presents

  • Interlochen, MI
  • Full-time

Company Description

Interlochen Center for the Arts is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the only organization in the world that brings together: a 2,500-student summer camp program; a 500-student fine arts boarding high school; opportunities for hundreds of adults to engage in fulfilling artistic and creative programs; two 24-hour listener-supported public radio stations (classical music and news); more than 600 arts presentations annually by students, faculty and world-renowned guest artists; a global alumni base spanning eight decades, including leaders in arts and all other endeavors. For information, visit Interlochen online at www.interlochen.org.


Interlochen Center for the Arts includes:


Interlochen Arts Academy

Interlochen Arts Academy, a fine arts boarding high school, offers the highest quality artistic training combined with comprehensive college-preparatory academics. The Academy also offers post-graduate opportunities.


Interlochen Arts Camp

Young artists from around the world gather at Interlochen each summer to learn, create and perform alongside leading artists and instructors. Programs are offered to students in grades three through twelve.


Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Adult artists thrive on opportunities to learn and express themselves creatively. The College of Creative Arts offers programs in a variety of arts disciplines.


Interlochen Public Radio

Classical Music: 88.7 FM, Interlochen; 88.5 FM, Mackinaw City; and 100.9 FM, East Jordan/Charlevoix

News Radio: 91.5 FM, Traverse City; 90.1 FM, Harbor Springs/Petoskey; 89.7 FM, Manistee/Ludington

Streaming online at ipr.interlochen.org.  Through two listener-supported broadcast services, Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) connects northwest Michigan with arts, news and culture on a global scale. IPR also gives significant focus to local and regional news, information and artists.


Interlochen Presents

The presentations program is one of the institution’s core assets in arts education, arts presentations and public broadcasting.


The Interlochen Arts Festival was created by Interlochen founder Joseph Maddy with inaugural performances of Van Cliburn in 1961, and residencies of the Philadelphia Orchestra beginning in 1964, becoming one of the first regional presenters to bring world renowned artists to outdoor performance venues.  Maddy believed that the students of Interlochen needed to see the world’s best artists performing side by side with them.  Now entering its 48th year and renamed to represent its year round program, IP is one of the largest presenters in the Midwest, bringing a broad range of over 450 student and 100 professional/paid performances and exhibitions throughout the year to more than 250,000 participants from the region and around the globe, with nearly $2 million in annual revenue, and a net profit approaching 40%.  Net proceeds from Presentations support student scholarships.  With more than 150 guest artists and artists in residence on the Interlochen campus each year, this position plays a key role in shaping the artistic climate and environment of this extraordinary multi-generational arts community.


Interlochen Presentations has grown significantly over the last seven years.  In 2005, as audiences and net profit sagged with the growth of competing presenters (casinos, small regional classical “festivals), a strategic planning effort recommended reducing the number of summer “main stage” events in the summer from 24-28 to 12-16, diversifying the offerings, and providing fewer but higher quality options to the regional audience.  With the arrival of Derek Kwan as director in 2007, Kwan quickly diversified into other areas of audience interest: comedy, family shows, dance, world music and the Shakespeare Festival.  Midway during Kwan’s tenure Design and Production services (stagecraft, design and construction, costumes) that reported to the Director of Theater Arts, was combined with Presentations, which included lighting, sound/audio and front of house, to provide a seamless, coordinated Presentations programming and services to all Interlochen artistic needs--music, opera, dance, theater, motion picture arts, and all performances.


Ticket sales have been consistently stable and grown during this time, bucking the national trend during a period of deep recession and high gas prices.  Presentations has also been able to capture patron interest from the strong and growing tourism traffic in the Traverse City region, which has become a “destination” for many in the Midwest with the advent of an active food/restaurant and viti-culture, film (Michael Moore’s film festival draws 100,000 visitors), and some of America’s best beaches! 


Job Description

Interlochen seeks a creative and visionary leader to direct the the Center’s presentation activities. Reporting to the President, the Executive Director of the Interlochen Arts Festival oversees all aspects of the development and management of a multi-dimensional presentations program in two distinct seasons.  This position is also responsible for budgeting, staffing and evaluation, management of design and production services for the world renowned arts education and performance programs at Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy .  The position requires a leader with a diverse portfolio of skills who can balance many competing demands and needs of many with skill, diplomacy and grace: the temperaments and passions of artists and artist management, IP staff of great variety and expertise, strong-willed artistic administration and faculty of Interlochen’s arts programs (music, theater, visual art, dance, creative writing and film).  At the same time, the successful director will be one who can understand the complex demographic of the regional and national audience Interlochen serves, developing a series of seasonal presentations programs that attract and serve that audience, while connecting the guest artists of the festival to the artistic and educational program that engages nearly 3000 students each year.  


Areas of responsibility include:

  • Management of daily operations of the department, including artist negotiation, management and relations, box office, patron services; performance scheduling with other Center performing and instructional needs, world class stagecraft and costuming departments.
  • Develop, implement and manage annual festival plans and budgets, creating a unique programmatic direction each year that stimulates and engages new audiences and contributes to the overall revenue of the Center;
  • Works closely and in tandem with marketing to develop regional and local advertising that attracts and engages larger audiences.
  • Works closely with development and marketing in creating and nurturing underwriting support for the Festival
  • Supervise and schedule presentations staff (12 year round, 50 seasonal) in lighting, sound and stage services, set design and crafts, costumes, box office, front of house and volunteers, along with management and negotiations of appropriate over hire and union stage staff
  • Manage multiple performance venues, including:

          Kresge Auditorium, covered, outdoor multi-purpose performance venue seating 4,000

          Corson Auditorium, multi-purpose indoor performing arts center seating 1,000

          Dendrinos Chapel-Recital Hall, seating 200 for organ and chamber music

          Harvey Theater, thrust stage theater for theater seating 180

          Phoenix Theater, black box theater seating 150

          The historic Interlochen Bowl, the first (1928) building at Interlochen, an outdoor venue, seating 1,250

          DeRoy Commons, multi-purpose movie theater, surround-sound/digital projection seating up to 200

          Upton-Morley Pavilion, sophisticated outdoor venue seating up to 350 and the home of the

                    Interlochen Shakespeare Festival, along with dance, chamber music and jazz.


The successful candidate must have a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred) in a field that supports quality leadership in festival and event management, and have demonstrated skills and capacities in a progressive series of leadership positions in presentations management.  The director must have a savvy view of the national festival and presentations scene, creative and entrepreneurial thinking and self-motivation, all that can translate to an understanding of the reality of the regional festival market Interlochen serves, and our artistic and educational mission. 


The director must be flexible and comfortable working in a team-oriented environment that requires strong communication and relationship skills with artistic leadership in multiple arts and performance areas.  The passion and creativity of the artistic community can be in conflict with the realities of budgets, schedules, services and varying demands of multiple programs.  The successful person must be able to negotiate the many competing demands of so many, yet with a subtle strength and demeanor that creates collaboration, not confrontation.  Evidence of goal-oriented thinking, energy and commitment, strong organizational skills, and flexible personnel and resource management experience will be important traits for the successful candidate; experience in managing a multi-faceted arts festival is essential. 

Additional Information

Compensation and Benefits: 

A nationally competitive salary and benefit package is being offered, commensurate with experience and qualifications.


Please Note:  

This is an Executive Search.  This search is being handled by HC Smith LTD.  Please do not click on the green "I am interested" button.  

Instead, please submit a letter of application, in confidence, expressing why this position interests you, along with a current resume, and a listing of five recent references to:


Rebecca Smith, of HC Smith LTD
20600 Chagrin Boulevard  Cleveland, OH 44122
(216) 752-9966


Materials submitted will be held in strictest confidence, and references will not be contacted without the permission of the applicant.


The search will remain open until filled.  The review of applications will be ongoing.