Position Available – Operations Manager

Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra

Operations Manager

The Operations Manager will be employed as an independent contractor of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra (SASO), will be responsible for operational aspects of the general management of SASO, and will work with the Music Director, the Officers and Board, and other employees and contractors of SASO. He/she will carry out Board policy and directives and will act on behalf of the Board as appropriate. Attendance at weekend and evening events will be expected. Renewal of contract will be contingent upon successful fulfillment of job requirements.

Required skills and competencies: Bachelor’s or advanced degree preferred, or equivalent experience. Excellent communications skills (both written and oral), organizational skills, interpersonal skills and fundraising abilities; self-motivated; ability to develop and work within the budget; computer literate; ability to direct and work successfully with staff and volunteers; present oneself professionally.


Concert production responsibilities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Manage schedules of concerts, rehearsals, and other related activities
  • Work with venues to schedule events
  • Attend concerts and some rehearsals
  • Negotiate contracts for guest artists and conductors within budget parameters set by the Board
  • Oversee Box Office activities and reports, including supervision of ushers

Sales and fundraising responsibilities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Sell ads for the season program booklet
  • Assist with securing sponsorships for concerts
  • Oversee direct mailings of season brochure and semi-annual campaign letters
  • Work with the Board and Music Director to identify and cultivate major gift prospects
  • Identify grant prospects, coordinate application process, prepare reports and ensure compliance
  • Oversee accurate and complete gift records
  • Oversee donor thanks and recognition

Administration including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Assist the SASO Treasurer in:
    • Maintaining and compiling accurate reports on income and expenditures
    • Processing and making bill payments
    • Compiling statistical and informational reports as they pertain to the financial status of the organization
    • Compiling budget information and working with the Budget Committee to develop budgets for Board approval
    • Maintain the SASO telephone, handle incoming and outgoing messages and correspondence

Marketing and promotion including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Work with the Board, Marketing Coordinator and Public Relations representatives in development of marketing strategies
  • Oversee marketing and public relations activities
  • Manage and update content on the SASO website
  • Coordinate social media postings

Community relations and outreach including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Act as advocate and representative in the community
  • Seek and develop partnership opportunities
  • Recruit volunteers to help with concert production, ad sales, fundraising, and ticket sales 

Board relations including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Support and help coordinate activities of Board and Committees
  • Serve as ex officio member of all Board Committees
  • Attend all Board meetings
  • Prepare materials for Board and Committee meetings
  • Help identify and recruit candidates for the Board

•  Assist the Board with long-range planning

SASO’s Story

Turkish maestro Orhan Salliel, after guest-conducting SASO in the fall of 2012, wrote to us, "The time in Tucson I shared with you in SASO for me was so special. I felt the real love of music from the bottom of everyone's hearts. It was something I do not feel often—never, ever in the professional world anymore. Please keep it, save it, try to build everything from this power of love for music."
Early audiences had to be loyal followers of this itinerant orchestra, which performed all over the city, frequently in churches. In the 1980s SASO rented the Temple of Music and Art for a concert. The City of Tucson condemned the building the morning of the dress rehearsal and the concert was canceled.
Our most famous alumnus is Rico Saccani, associate conductor of SASO our inaugural year and piano soloist for the second concert. He later conducted opera companies and orchestras around the world and was music director of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra from 1985 to 2005.
The most colorful performance was a Halloween concert in Nogales—a ghoulish event where the conductor was a clown and all the musicians were in costume.
In December 1995 SASO was the first to present a concert at SaddleBrooke. This was the brainstorm of concertmaster Sam Kreiling. The concert sold out, as did a four-concert series the following year. SASO has performed there ever since.
Brazilian-born Linus Lerner, in his first year as music director, challenged the orchestra to learn his native Latin rhythms by playing Villa-Lobos. This proved surprisingly hard to do. We finally got it, but not until the week of the concert.
SaddleBrooke is home to many of our loyal donors and the place where we’ve held our gala celebrations—first a black-tie dinner with music from "Phantom of the Opera" and later our annual StarStruck Gala evenings from 2008 through 2013.
Adam Boyles was the music director for three seasons, bringing bountiful youthful energy and a passion to serve the music. Then the Tucson native moved East to brave the snow and conduct the orchestra at MIT in Boston.
The largest event SASO has produced was Berlioz Te Deum, presented at the Tucson Community Center Music Hall with the Tucson Civic Orchestra, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Pima College Singers.
The first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.
Alan Schultz became music director in Year 2 and continued leading SASO for 15 seasons. He frequently conducted from the keyboard—organ or harpsichord. He also composed several works premiered by SASO.
The visionary founders of SASO were Barbara and Bill Chinworth, Scott Bracher and Janet Lombard. Barbara has played with SASO through its entire history, originally in the horn section, now on bass.
Composer, pianist and conductor Warren Cohen served as music director for eight seasons, routinely commuting from his home in Phoenix, but one year all the way from Hawaii. His wife, coloratura Carolyn Whitacre, was a favorite soloist.
One spring SASO proved it has animal attraction. When it played at the Reid Park Zoo, some of the critters sang along with the music