The American Pianists Association (APA) was founded in New York City as the Beethoven Foundation in 1979 by Victor Borge, Tony Habig (Kimball International), and Julius Bloom (former general manager of Carnegie Hall). The APA’s original mission was to identify and groom young pianists for international competitions. Throughout the 1980s, auditions were held every two years, naming three Beethoven Foundation Fellows each running. In 1982 the organization moved to Indianapolis and in 1989 changed its name to the American Pianists Association to reflect a wider scope. Over the years, the APA’s mission has broadened and now works to discover, promote, and advance the careers of young, American, and world-class jazz and classical pianists.
The American Pianists Awards are a biennial competition that discover the best aspiring American pianists ages 18 through 30. Alternating between classical and jazz, the winner of the APA Award receives a two-year fellowship valued at more than $100,000, including cash awards, fees, publicity, and recording opportunities. The winner is also named Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis for two years. This unique and innovative competition spans 13 months and provides a platform to deeply engage pianists in a variety of creative formats and settings. Each competition takes place in three parts—Preliminary Round, Premiere Series, and Discovery Week— and the events are produced as public recitals. In addition, every finalist completes the Concerto Curriculum, a residency with a high school orchestra or jazz band. Residencies typically span three days and culminate in a public performance with school musicians. The APA is a constituent member of the Arts Collaborative, which includes the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, and Indianapolis Children’s Choir, which are all housed in rent-free space at Butler University.
The APA has seven full-time staff members and is governed by a 26-member board of directors under the leadership of Chairman Jean Richcreek. Dr. Joel Harrison joined the APA as Artistic Director in 2001 and added President and CEO to his duties in 2008. After a very successful tenure, he will be retiring in June 2021. The APA operates on a biennial budget of $2.5 million, with 28 percent from foundations and grants, 21 percent from individual donors, 12 percent from corporate sponsorships, and 6 percent from investment and miscellaneous income. The remaining funding emanates from government agencies, an annual fund, earned revenue, and significant contributions from the board. The APA holds endowed and invested funds of approximately $10 million.
Indianapolis is the 12th largest city by land area in the United States, with more than two million residents within the metropolitan area. This capital city is the economic and government center of Indiana—a place where art, culture, and recreation come together. The cost of living is 25 percent less than the average city of its size. In 2019 U.S. News and World Report ranked Indianapolis number 17 out of 100 of the most affordable places to live in the country.
With six designated Cultural Districts located within historically significant neighborhoods unique to the city’s heritage, pockets of international and local talent, music, and art thrive throughout the community. New restaurants, galleries, venues, and boutiques have flourished, bringing youth and energy to the cityscape. A public transportation system called the Red Line opened in 2019, connecting the city’s most vital areas and making it easier and safer than ever experience the city’s unique attractions.
Arts and culture thrive in Indianapolis. The city is home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Cabaret, The Jazz Kitchen, IndyFringe, Madam Walker Legacy Center, and numerous other professional arts organizations. Indianapolis’ arts and culture industry generates more than $440 million in economic impact each year and employs 15,000 full-time positions. The city’s arts attendance reaches more than seven million visits each year. Arts and education outreach programs impact more than 1.5 million children and youth.
Indianapolis is a city of giving with strong philanthropic support from major foundations, committed individuals, and a robust business community. The city is the headquarters of three Fortune 500 companies, state and federal government offices, major health care companies, half a dozen professional and amateur sports teams, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an eight-mile urban-planned pedestrian and bike pathway connecting neighborhoods and cultural destinations. The city and county boast parks with 220 miles of walking and biking trails, two reservoirs, and the White River, which offers various recreational opportunities. It is also known for the renowned Indianapolis 500 race—the country’s largest one-day sporting event drawing more than 300,000 people annually.
Sources: iupui.edu/city, visitindy.org, indy.org, nyt.com, usnews.com
The President and CEO will report to and work closely with the board of directors as a dynamic and visionary leader responsible for the strategic implementation of the APA’s artistic programming, fiscal well-being, fundraising, and overall administration. The President and CEO will serve as the chief spokesperson for the APA and must articulate its mission with integrity and passion to a broad audience. The successful candidate will clearly communicate with and inspire confidence in the board of directors, staff, competition participants, and finalists, as well as other stakeholders who support the APA. Living and working in Indianapolis, the President and CEO will develop and maintain relationships with partner organizations, presenters, artists, major schools of music and their faculties, and representatives of the music industry on a national and international level.
Roles and Responsibilities
Vision and Strategy
- Serve as a visionary leader in realizing world-class excellence in all APA programming.
- Provide strategic vision, develop goals, and implement objectives consistent with the APA’s mission.
- Serve as chief spokesperson for the organization with a visible presence at local, regional, national, and international piano and other music events.
- Develop and support strategic partnerships and negotiate contracts with new and existing organizations to present and promote a range of artists and exceptional programming.
- Create and maintain strong ties with community decision makers, government leaders, and the arts community in achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Embrace a transparent leadership approach in collaboration with the board of directors, committees, community partners, donors, staff, and other stakeholders.
Artistic Leadership and Programming
- Oversee the organization’s largest events, including the American Pianists Awards and Grand Encounters concert series.
- Guide jury selection and the nomination process for the American Pianist Awards, determining program themes, selecting the venue, securing guest artists, and overseeing any other pertinent aspects of the competitions.
- Mentor nominees, finalists, and winners of the American Pianists Awards, providing guidance as it relates to the competition process, choosing appropriate repertoire, and offering career assistance and advice as needed with particular projects and/or professional management.
- Respond to requests for artistic advisement and guidance, communicating on a regular basis with colleagues in the music world, with a specific focus on the piano world.
- Cultivate effective relationships with local, regional, national, and international artists, agents, instructors, and presenters to ensure diverse programming and maximum impact.
Philanthropic Support and Effective Governance
- Inspire and engage the board, community, and other stakeholders to support positive fundraising efforts for the APA.
- Communicate and establish a strong working relationship with the board, encouraging all members to be active participants across the organization, and stir the passion in them for the APA’s work.
- Collaborate with Director of Development and board to develop short- and long-term goals with accompanying strategies in an integrated approach to increasing contributed revenues.
- Cultivate corporate and individual sponsors, plan for a comprehensive annual fund, and oversee major donor events with the Director of Development.
- Assist in board prospect identification, cultivation, and recruitment and utilize board committees as an opportunity for future board member development.
- Ensure strong fiscal health and effective governance with the board.
- Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so it can fulfill its policy-making and decision-making responsibilities.
- Prepare the President and CEO’s Report, highlighting activities, accomplishments, finances, issues, and other relevant matters to the board on a quarterly basis.
Fiscal Oversight and Accountability
- Lead financial planning and the fiscal well-being of the APA with transparency, integrity, and accuracy in all financial reporting.
- Oversee the preparation of monthly financial reports for the Finance Committee and present financial reports at all board meetings.
- Develop biennial budget and monitor income, expenses, annual fund, grants, sponsorships, and investments in collaboration with the General Manager.
- Embody and provide positive and collaborative leadership to the board and staff.
Traits and Characteristics
The President and CEO will be a collaborative leader who sees the big picture and values frequent interaction with stakeholders. This key leadership role will require high artistic standards, integrity, innovation, and professionalism. The President and CEO will be versatile and nimble, easily adapting to changing priorities while maintaining a positive and dynamic demeanor. The successful candidate will be assertive and able to provide a specific and measurable strategy with achievable, reviewable, and time-sensitive goals. A charismatic, people-oriented leader, the President and CEO will inspire excellence, provide vision and mobilize staff, board members, and other stakeholders to fulfill the APA’s goals and objectives. The selected individual will be resourceful and receptive to new ideas and will bring energy and a passion for the world of classical and jazz piano.
Other key competencies include:
- Personal Accountability – The competence to prioritize and complete necessary tasks in order to meet or exceed the mutually agreed upon expectations of the role.
- Leadership – The ability to organize and motivate other people to accomplish goals, create a sense of order and direction, and gain active participation among a variety of stakeholders.
- Resiliency – The determination to continue toward goals, moving past unforeseen obstacles without unnecessary delay and to address and resolve conflict constructively.
- Planning and Organizing – The aptitude to utilize logical, systematic, and orderly procedures to meet objectives, prioritizing tasks for optimum productivity and anticipating probable effects, outcomes, and risks.
- Creativity and Innovation – The capacity to create new approaches, designs, processes, technologies, and/or systems to achieve success and growth.
Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five to seven years of related senior management experience in performing arts administration, music competitions, association leadership, and artistic expertise in the music sector. A strong background in piano performance and education is necessary. This position requires extensive relationships in and knowledge of the classical or jazz music industries with a deep interest in learning more about both. A successful track record in best practices within the nonprofit field, high-level financial acumen, and demonstrated fundraising experience is expected. Expertise in project management, planning, organizational development, and team building is needed. A commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential. Requirements also include strong written and oral presentation skills.
Compensation and Benefits
The APA offers a competitive salary expected to be in the range of $120,000 to $150,000. The benefits package includes paid time off and holiday time as well as retirement benefits and medical, life, vision, and dental insurances.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, including the anticipated compensation parameters, please contact:
Jenna Deja, Vice President
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227
The American Pianists Association is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for everyone. The APA will recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job categories without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual identity or orientation, age, disability, military status, or union affiliation in full compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.