EX CATHEDRA | Work and perform with us

Artistic Director

Our artistic director and founder, Jeffrey Skidmore, will be retiring in 2027. Under his leadership, Ex Cathedra has become renowned as ‘one of Britain’s very best choirs’ (New York Times). So we are looking for a visionary artistic leader to take the organisation forward into the next phase of its life, in a changing world for the arts.

The person will be an outstanding choral conductor, who is passionate about the value of choral singing in the areas of performance, education, and participation. They will have proven artistic and leadership experience and the ability to inspire performers, staff, and our existing and future stakeholders. They will have a perspective and aspirations that are both national and international, alongside a commitment to honour Ex Cathedra’s historic roots in the West Midlands.

The Artistic Director position is a part-time role comprising an average time commitment of three days per week (flexibly planned), working remotely or in the Ex Cathedra office in Birmingham as appropriate, plus concerts. We offer a competitive remuneration package of a retainer (in the form of salary and appropriate benefits) plus performing fees (paid separately, at an agreed freelance rate).

Download the application pack here.

Interested parties are welcome to have an exploratory informal conversation with Peter Trethewey (General Manager) and/or Paul Keene (Trustee).

To apply, please send, by Friday 1 December 2023:

• a letter of application, outlining your vision for Ex Cathedra and describing your suitability for the role in relation to the requirements outlined above
• a full CV
• links to relevant performance videos and audio material
• names and contact details of two referees.

– to Peter Trethewey, General Manager, Ex Cathedra, peter@excathedra.co.uk.

We want to cast our net as widely as possible, to survey the field of talent in an open process. Once we have received expressions of interest, initial interview conversations will be held with a small number of applicants in early 2024. Those whom we wish to take forward will then be invited to work with Ex Cathedra as guest conductors in future seasons, in an informal and friendly process to allow all parties to get to know each other over time on a trial basis. It is envisaged that the new Artistic Director will be invited to perform with the ensemble as Artistic Director Designate in Jeffrey Skidmore’s final season, to ensure a smooth transition.

We also encourage you to complete our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form, see more details further down this page.

Senior Academy of Vocal Music Conductor vacancy:

We are looking for a collaborative and inspiring choral music leader for our SATB young persons group to take over as soon as possible from an inspiring ten years under the leadership of Suzzie Vango, and then later together with Ruairi Edwards.

The senior Academy of Vocal Music was set up in the 1990s by Ex Cathedra Founder and Artistic Director Jeffrey Skidmore OBE as part of his vision for excellence in choral music education .

The senior group is for pupils in school years 9 – 13 and part of our pathway from babies to end of school year 13. The choirs learn and perform independently but we aim for one supportive and collaborative culture in which children and young people enjoy singing together across the age groups at appropriate events.

Our C&YP love coming together to sing. There is a huge range of music-making experiences amongst them, from young people who attend schools where there is no singing nor GCSE or A level music course, to home-educated C&YP who access many exciting opportunities, and those who attend schools where there is a wealth of diverse music-making experiences at the highest levels.

We are seeking someone who has a proven track record of employing the best teaching and learning practices to facilitate the best environment for C&YP in achieving the highest music-making and choral performance standards together with a direct positive impact on their wellbeing.

We hold joyous, informal spring and summer concerts in which we bring together all the groups. Every November the senior upper voices and some of the older juniors sing for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s run of the Nutcracker. The Saturday before each Christmas all the children and young people sing with Ex Cathedra for the family Christmas by Candlelight – Angels Stars and Kings in St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery Quarter. Each Good Friday the seniors sing with Ex Cathedra for either of Bach’s St Matthew or St John Passions.

You must be available for Wednesdays evenings during Birmimgham School Term Times.

You will be paid a fee and travel expenses on a freelance basis for the hours you do at a rate of £55/hour.

The closing date for applications is Friday 20th October 2023.

Interviews/auditions will take place on Wednesday 25th October in Birmingham.

Please email Rebecca Ledgard if you have any questions regarding the role or send your CV and covering letter to apply.

Click here to download the full job description.

We also encourage you to complete our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form, see more details further down this page.

Staff vacancies:

None at present.

Performer enquiries:

We’re always delighted to receive audition requests from prospective singers, both professional singers and professionally-trained volunteer singers. For more information about how we work and how to arrange an audition, please click here.

Prospective freelance instrumentalists are welcome send email Melissa Brown, Concerts Producer, with a copy of their CV.

For details of our Scholars and Student Scholars schemes, click here. If the Scholars scheme is not currently open to applicants you are welcome to contact Melissa with your details and ask them to be held on file so that we can keep you updated.

We also encourage you to complete our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form, see more details further down this page.

Trustee roles:

We are also always interested to hear from prospective trustees. At this time, our focus is on rebuilding following the pandemic, developing our co-creative practice and expanding our work with diverse communities who do not traditionally engage with choral music. We have also begun the process of planning for the phased retirement of founder and artistic director Jeffrey Skidmore. So it is an exciting time to help steer Ex Cathedra through some of the challenges and opportunities we anticipate over the next few years.

We welcome all expressions of interest. At this time we are particularly interested to hear from people who can support our development in one or more of the following areas:

  • finance – trustee oversight and support for our skilled, experienced finance team
  • HR – recognising our diverse mix of employed and freelance staff, scholars, adult and young amateur singers and participants

You do not need experience in singing, music or the arts, but you must share our belief that everyone should have an equitable opportunity to experience the physical and wellbeing benefits of singing together and the power of inspirational choral music.

If you are interested, you are welcome to download and read our most recent Trustee Recruitment Pack. Some of the areas of particular interest listed have since been filled but the majority of the content remains relevant for all ongoing expressions of interest, and we would be pleased for you to tell us how you could help.

If you would like to explore the idea of being an Ex Cathedra trustee:
– we are happy to arrange an informal conversation with Peter Phillips, Chair of the Board
– this would usually be following by an invitation to send a formal letter of interest and CV, and an interview process.

We also encourage you to complete our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form, see more details further down this page.

Equality and Diversity:

Ex Cathedra is committed to building an inclusive and diverse organisation that reflects our region and the communities with whom we work.

We recognise that diversity brings a wealth of benefits, but that there is a lack of diversity in the choral sector. We are looking for someone who shares our values and we welcome applications from under-represented sectors of the community. If you have any access needs relevant to the application process, please get in touch with us directly to discuss them

To help us monitor our ability to reach a range of applicants, we encourage applicants to complete our Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form, which is anonymous and not used as part of the selection process.