Position and Candidate Specification
President, New England Conservatory
New England Conservatory (NEC) educates and trains musicians of all ages from around the world, drawing on the talent and deep reservoir of experience of our distinguished faculty. We are dedicated to inculcating the highest standards of excellence and nurturing individual artistic sensibility and creative growth. Understanding that music is one of the transcendent expressions of human civilization, NEC aspires to ensure it a central place in contemporary society.
A cultural icon approaching its 150th anniversary in 2017, New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized worldwide for its excellence in music education. Founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjée, an American music educator, choral conductor, and organist, NEC is the oldest independent school of music in the United States. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, on the Avenue of the Arts between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, NEC offers rigorous education in an intimate, nurturing community to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate music students from around the world.
Highly regarded for its innovative practices, NEC's out-of-the-box curriculum yields an expansive range of styles and traditions. NEC's faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars, and includes 40 members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. NEC is authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to grant degrees and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
At the college level, NEC educates 750 instrumentalists, singers, and composers in a broad array of methods, including classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, opera, composition, world music, and early music. Of the 750 enrolled in degree and diploma programs, there is wide diversity of backgrounds, including 35% international students. NEC also places significant emphasis on liberal arts, music history, and music theory, which it believes contribute importantly to the development of fully rounded musicians. The Preparatory School enrolls 1,500 students from across New England, including those enrolled in NEC @ Walnut Hill. Prep musicians attend individual lessons, chamber ensembles, rehearsals, classes, and 26 large ensembles, including orchestras, choruses, and wind ensembles. The School of Continuing Education makes available to 400 students of all ages the resources of one of the world’s leading music institutions. The School offers private instrument lessons to full certificate programs in a range of subjects. Students can participate in workshops and masterclasses, play in ensembles, and attend summer institutes, all taught by the area’s most highly qualified musicians.
As NEC continues its groundbreaking work in the critical formation of 21st-century musicians, the Conservatory envisions a campus that more closely mirrors and supports its mission. Having invested in faculty development, scholarship enhancement, and the preservation of its current buildings, NEC now looks toward the creation of a redeveloped, student-centric campus, including the new Student Life & Performance Center (SLPC), that will enrich its young musicians’ experience and provide yet more opportunities for community engagement.
Rendering of NEC’s Student Life & Performance Center, slated to open in 2017
For additional information regarding NEC’s Mission & Core Values, as well as the definition of an NEC-Educated Person, please visit the NEC website, or NEC's YouTube channel. For information on the Student Life & Performance Center, please visit the following sites:
- Building pages on the NEC website
- Press release on the Groundbreaking ceremony for the SLPC
- SLPC Walk-through video
- Construction short video
The new President of NEC will work in concert with faculty, staff, and the board to develop a vision to lead NEC’s innovative thinking around 21st-century education, particularly around music and the arts, while preserving the high level of excellence that characterizes NEC. Simultaneously, he/she will support the spirit of creativity and innovation that already exists within the institution by facilitating collaboration and dialogue among the students, faculty, and staff. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the President will provide broad oversight to the administration and management of the organization, working directly with senior staff to ensure efficient and sustainable business practices that are in keeping with NEC’s institutional mission. With the support of the Board and the development office, the President will also serve as a primary fundraiser for the institution, cultivating new relationships with the philanthropic community and building upon existing donor relationships.
New England Conservatory is seeking a President with demonstrated visionary and strategic leadership skills who can work successfully with the board, faculty, and staff. He/She will have the ability to both lead and support rigorous thinking around contemporary treatments of traditional art forms and will understand and support the role of technology in a 21st-century education. It is essential that the President of NEC be passionate and knowledgeable about music, the role of music and musicians in society, and the connection between students, their communities, and audiences. The search committee is seeking a leader with the management, academic, and professional credentials commensurate with this important leadership position.
Other personal qualities the ideal candidate will demonstrate include integrity, intellectual curiosity and honesty, high energy, empathy, boldness, open-mindedness, creativity, authenticity, genuine warmth, and excellent communication skills.
Critical Competencies for Success
Strategic Academic Leadership and Vision:
New England Conservatory has an international reputation for excellence and innovation, and the organization is seeking a strategic, forward-thinking leader who can build consensus around a vision/strategy, and set the course for music education today and in the future. Understanding that technology and media are important to a new generation, he/she will understand and support the role of technology in a 21st-century education. The President and CEO must have the ability to lead and implement a robust vision in collaboration with the faculty and the Board of Trustees.
Strong Operational and Managerial Acumen:
At an institution that has been competing effectively with more well-resourced peers, the next President will need strong financial and operating acumen. He/She will be an effective implementer, with the ability to bring people together to harness the creative energy of the NEC community in executing a forward-looking vision for NEC and music education. He/She will work closely with the senior leadership team to enhance current and future programmatic initiatives, balancing innovation with sound business planning and academic goals. Finally, the President will have demonstrated the ability to develop and maintain a strong and cohesive staff and build a supportive and collegial community.
Relationship Building and Fundraising:
As the person who can build and lead an effective development effort for NEC, the President will facilitate growth in fundraising from both individual and institutional donors. He/She will also build relationships with alumni, parents, and friends and leverage those relationships to provide increased fundraising opportunities and resources for the Conservatory’s students and faculty. He/She will act as the lead communicator with the broader community, both locally and globally, in order to create visibility for NEC as a premier center of music. Possessing strong listening and communication skills, the President will develop the board and also ensure that present trustees feel engaged and informed. A compelling spokesperson with a deep understanding of the institution and its goals, the President will play an active role in the greater Boston Community as well as be an ambassador for NEC in the national and international arts and arts education community.
The Search Process
New England Conservatory’s search committee is being assisted in this process by Spencer Stuart, a global search firm, and welcomes comments, nominations, or expressions of interest. To contact the committee, please send an e-mail with any supporting materials to the confidential address: NEC@SpencerStuart.com.