Jazz St. Louis

President & CEO, St. Louis, MO


Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz though performance, education, and community engagement.

Jazz St. Louis seeks a President & CEO who will be a visionary and innovative leader.This person will be committed to and passionate about jazz and its power, influence, and impact as America's original art form, and will be a dynamic manager of the business operations of JSL. The selected candidate must be willing to live full-time in St. Louis, Missouri.


Jazz St. Louis began nearly 27 years ago as a presenter of local, national, and international jazz musicians in a small, intimate atmosphere. Over the years, the organization has grown to become a unique and successful non-profit arts organization focused on teaching the cultural significance and historical importance of jazz alongside presenting the music. Jazz St. Louis strives to be the leader in developing unique programming that engages youth and adults alike, and preserving the shared cultural heritage embodied in jazz music.

Jazz St. Louis' mission focuses on three areas: performance, education, and community engagement.

Pursuit of this mission led to robust growth and the completion of an $8.5 million capital campaign in 2014 which opened the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz in Grand Center, the heart of St. Louis' arts district. This new space allowed for JSL to grow into its reputation as a leading jazz venue by housing all performance, education, and office resources in one place. The performance space -- The Ferring Jazz Bistro -- has earned accolades from patrons and musicians alike, calling it one of the top five listening rooms in the world, while Nancy's Jazz Lounge provides a comfortable space to watch the performances in a casual setting. The Centene Jazz Education Center on the building's third floor was specifically designed for hands-on instruction and has become a comfortable and safe space for students to share, learn, and develop as musicians.

Each year, JSL presents an 18-show subscription series consisting of five nights of performances by internationally acclaimed artists including Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Chick Corea, David Sanborn, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Ray Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, Robert Glasper, The Bad Plus, and Terrace Martin. Including the subscription series, special performances, and locally led groups, Jazz St. Louis programs over 170 nights per year. More than 40,000 people attend one of our performances, either as part of the subscription series, special events, or local artist performances. Hundreds of local and nationally renowned musicians have graced our stage.

JSL's education programs cultivate the next generation of musicians, patrons, and leaders through hands-on training, performance, concert experiences, resources for educators, and connections with inspirational local and touring artists. The in-house training programs, JazzU and Jazz Academy, provide students from all over the area in-depth jazz instruction from the region's top jazz educators. The Emerson Jazz for Our Schools program provides schools with inspirational concert experiences with the national touring artists that perform on the Jazz St. Louis stage. The Artist Residency program brings top national touring artists into schools for clinics, masterclasses, and performances. JSL holds a yearly jazz band festival in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington program, providing an amazing performance opportunity, clinics, and masterclasses to high school bands from all around the Midwest. Finally, the Elementary Curriculum Partnerships provide teachers curricular resources and professional development to increase the amount and quality of jazz in general music curriculum. All of these programs are brought to students, teachers, and schools free of charge.

JSL's Community Engagement programs strengthen our community through collaborative connections to jazz in new and unique ways. The Whitaker Jazz Speaks program brings well-known authors, scholars, and musicians for free lectures paired with one-of-a-kind performances covering topics as wide ranging as jazz and civil rights to jazz's connection to baseball. The Jazz St. Louis Book Club, curated and led by Washington University professor Dr. Gerald Early, provides literary lovers a chance to engage in jazz through the printed word. Our Community Engagement programs also reach families with young children. Music Heals uses the rhythms and sounds of jazz to provide a fresh take on music motor therapy for toddlers with developmental delays. Additionally, JSL provides kinder music with a jazz flair in presenting Jazz at Lincoln Center's WeBop program. JSL's video library of instructional videos for music teachers and students is available on the internet and viewed worldwide.

JSL joined with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to co-commission two operas by Terence Blanchard, 2013's "Champion," and 2019's "Fire Shut Up in My Bones," theMetropolitan Opera's first performance of an opera by a Black composer.

JSL's radio program, The Next Set: Live from Jazz St. Louis produced in partnership with St. Louis Public Radio, is broadcast over several regional terrestrial stations and streamed online.

Most recently, in May 2021, JSL announced the appointment of trumpeter Keyon Harrold as its first Creative Advisor, a three-year position made possible through support of the Mellon Foundation. Harrold's involvement with JSL is an exciting opportunity to make new musical connections and grow the organization's influence on St. Louis and the surrounding region, culminating in Jazz St. Louis' first-ever solo commission in spring 2024.

Jazz St. Louis employs 15 full-time staff, several part-time box officers, and a variety of contract roles supporting education and community engagement efforts. The President & CEO's direct reports include an Executive Assistant, Director of Operations/Artistic Director, Director of Education, Director of Development, Director of Marketing, and an Accountant. Additional financial services are provided by accounting firm Armanino LLP.


The new leader will nurture and reflect the broad creative interests of JSL's diverse partners and constituents while ensuring that JSL expands it reach far beyond the St. Louis community to a national and international presence and impact.

In conjunction with the Board and staff, the President & CEO will provide strategic leadership for meaningful growth in its programs, staffing, community impact and budget. The new leader will set the tone for the organization, ensuring all constituencies' commitment to and identification with the mission, vision, values, and goals of JSL.


The President & CEO will have the following responsibilities.


  • Create a culture of engagement, cross-functional collaboration and diversity of perspective based on excellence and mutual respect

  • Formulate and execute a strategic plan in conjunction with Board and staff specially focused on the following:

  • Growth of successful educational programming, including development of new educational programs that fill needs that are unmet in area schools

  • Enhancement of community engagement programming to position JSL as a transformative force for good in our community and region

  • Continue renowned music programming while developing additional partnerships locally and nationally

  • Work with Artistic Director, staff, and Creative Advisor to develop the overarching artistic vision for JSL

  • Exponentiallygrow the size, impact, and visibility of the organization

  • Broaden the organization's donor base

  • Lead JSL's day-to-day operations to meet fiscal and operational goals

  • Be the public face of the organization

  • Commit to the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to the success of the organization.


  • Ensure fiscal responsibility and operational excellence

  • Maintain a balanced and transparent budget

  • Guide the preparation, monitoring, and monthly reporting of the annual budget, financial policies, and cash management

  • Determine organizational resources that are needed to ensure short-term effectiveness and long-term sustainability

  • Ensures a robust development effort and organizational structure that maximizes all giving opportunities


  • Serve as a thought leader to enhance JSL's presence, relevance, visibility, and brand power

  • Pursue opportunities that bring greater local, national, and international visibility

  • Be the spokesperson for the organization, serving as a leader within the national and the local artscommunity


  • Oversee all senior leadership of the organization to ensure work is aligned with the mission and vision of JSL

  • Motivate, collaborate, and establish clear communication with all levels of the organization to guarantee a highly functioning and committed team dedicated to the success of JSL.

  • Attract and retain the best talent available

  • Coach and mentor staff, supporting their growth and professional development.


  • Actively engage and develop collaborative relationships with members of the Board

  • Optimize opportunities to bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources, and contacts

  • Collaborate with the Board to identify and attract the next generation of Board leadership.


The President & CEO will be a creative and passionate leader who strongly believes in the mission of JSL. Additionally, this person will have the following:

  • Proven managerial, organizational, problem-solving, and strategic planning capabilities, ideally within a public or nonprofit music-related setting; significant private-sector experience may also be considered.

  • Bachelor's degree required; master's degree preferred.

  • Experience with jazz education is preferred.

  • Previous experience successfully managing complex teams and working with a board of directors.

  • A connection to JSL's commitment to equity, mission, and activities is essential.

  • Experience in fundraising, program development, and various media

  • Extraordinary interpersonal and writing skills are essential.

JSL is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from those who contribute to its diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, mental and physical disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, familial status, veteran status, and genetic information.

JSL is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for all individuals in employment practices, services, programs, and activities.

Please send applications including cover letters and CVs and nominations to Mark Tarnacki and Addie Jones at JSL@PhillipsOppenheim.com.