Head of Orchestra Management (Maternity Cover – Fixed Term 12 months)


Circa £40,000 Pro rata

Application deadline
Interviews: First Round
Interviews: First Round
Interviews: Second Round

Job description

The world-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is seeking a Head of Orchestra Management 

to work with the Music Director, Section Leaders, orchestra management team and all other players to build, sustain and nurture a team of outstanding orchestral musicians. This will include leading on our recruitment, HR and training activities for players (with support from the HR Manager), developing outstanding working relations with CBSO musicians and play a key role in enabling the Music Director to realise their artistic ambitions for the CBSO. 
Despite the restrictions of Covid-19 the orchestra has bold plans to continue making music, in person and digitally in order to fulfil its mission of bringing music to the widest possible audience. 

How to apply

To apply, please send a CV of no more than two pages together with the names of two referees and a succinct covering letter explaining why you think you are our ideal candidate to: 

HR Manager 
CBSO Centre 
Berkley Street 
Birmingham B1 2LF 

If you have any queries relating to the application process, please contact Hollie Dunster, HR Manager, on 0121 616 6515. 

If you would like to know more about the CBSO or the job itself, please feel free to contact Jenny Nicholls, on jnicholls@cbso.co.uk to arrange a confidential conversation. 

The CBSO is an equal opportunity organisation; we value diversity in our organisation and welcome applications from everyone. 

Essential skills

  1. To work with the Music Director, Section Leaders, and all other players to build, sustain and nurture a team of outstanding orchestral musicians. By leading our recruitment, HR and training activities for players, you will proactively develop outstanding working relations with CBSO musicians and play a key role in enabling the Music Director to realise their artistic ambitions for the CBSO. 
  2. To work closely with the Head of Artistic Planning to ensure the effective delivery of the orchestra scheduling and smooth operation of the overall Concerts Team. 
  3. In collaboration with the Director of Learning and Engagement and Head of Orchestra Management, to take practical steps to make the CBSO an ever more inclusive organisation. 
  4. To lead the company’s negotiations with the Musicians’ Union on players’ terms and conditions (in collaboration with the Chief Executive) and liaise with the players’ representatives on local issues; and to make suggestions for the effectiveness and longer-term development of this contract. 
  5. To carry out regular discussions with Section Leaders and other players, as required and in liaison with HR, and take a leading role in the longer-term career development, welfare and performance management of the CBSO’s individual musicians. 
  6. To have overall responsibility for Health & Safety policy and compliance, chairing the H&S Committee and providing regular reports to the Board of Trustees. You will also have operational responsibility for health & safety issues as they affect the orchestra, including COVID-19 compliance. 
  7. To lead on HR and occupational health issues for the CBSO’s musicians, working closely with the Orchestra Manager and HR Manager, especially in the development of good practice and preventative action relating to the areas of noise at work and hearing protection, playing-related injuries and sickness absence. 
  8. To support the Orchestra Manager in the operation of the CBSO’s system of rostering, release days and contractual entitlements, overseeing the continuing development of these systems. 
  9. To be responsible for the CBSO’s systems for engaging freelance players, including the development of robust systems for financial monitoring and forecasting. 
  10. To manage the budgets for players’ salaries, freelance players and other operational aspects of the orchestra’s work. 
  11. To line manage the work of the Orchestra Manager, Platform Manager and Librarian, ensuring the resources are appropriate to meet the needs of our artistic activities within agreed budgets. 
  12. To act as Duty Manager at CBSO concerts and events which will be on a rotational basis with colleagues, including concerts around the UK and overseas. 
  13. To prepare regular reports for the CBSO Board of Trustees, and to attend Board meetings as requested. 
  14. To represent the Chief Executive (when required) and the CBSO both internally and externally, and to be a visible ambassador for the CBSO within the orchestral sector and with other stakeholders in Birmingham as well as further afield. 
  15. Undertake any other reasonable and/or required duties commensurate to the position. 

Desirable skills

  • You will be a natural leader with a passion for classical music 
  • You will have a detailed knowledge of orchestral repertoire, and be familiar with the daily operational requirements of a symphony orchestra and its musicians 
  • You will have demonstrable management experience, with excellent people management and communication skills and at least 5 years’ experience of working with professional musicians 
  • You will have advanced formal and informal negotiation skills, ideally including experience in collective bargaining with trade unions 
  • You will have plenty of experience in managing significant budgets and developing systems for monitoring expenditure, and in general possess the financial skills appropriate to a job at this level 
  • You will be a highly articulate communicator with strong inter-personal skills, who is capable of building the confidence of colleagues and partners at all levels internally and externally 
  • You will be a hard worker who can work well under pressure, with the energy and enthusiasm to build teams, motivate colleagues and manage their performance 


Hollie Dunster, HR Manager




0121 616 6515


  • Member of CBSO staff, based at CBSO’s purpose-built rehearsal and administrative home, CBSO Centre, in central Birmingham, however there will be a regular requirement for travel with the orchestra to locations in Birmingham, the UK and overseas when appropriate. 
  • This is a full-time role 
  • CBSO staff are entitled to 25 days annual leave pro rata plus Public Holidays 
  • There will be a regular requirement for attendance at evening events (e.g. concerts) and for work at weekends. There is some provision for flexible working. 
  • This post is subject to a 3 month probationary period 
  • Membership of the Company’s Stakeholder Pension plan
  • All CBSO employees are expected to adhere to all the CBSO’s policies 

The CBSO is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity.