You are here: Home News & Blogs Vacancies Folkestra Musical Director

Folkestra Musical Director

Posted on 14 August 2015

Information about the post of Folkestra Musical Director

Reference: 081502

Application Closing Date: 9am on 10 September 2015

Job Information

Job Title: Folkestra Musical Director
Department & Team: Learning and Participation (L&P)
Location: Sage Gateshead
Working Hours: Selected Sunday afternoon rehearsals plus concert days and residentials, likely to involve approximately 30 days work per academic year
Duration: This is a fixed term post until 31st August 2016

Position in Organisation

Reports to: Head of Music Learning
Responsible for: n/a
Works in conjunction with: Learning and Participation, Performance Programme, Marketing & Communications team, others across the organisation
Budget accountability: None

Overall purpose of the job

Sage Gateshead is looking for an inspirational Musical Director for its renowened youth folk ensemble – Folkestra. The successful applicant will be an outstanding folk performer and music leader with deep knowledge of folk and traditional music styles and knowledge of performance traditions. The Folkestra Musical Director is a significant leadership role and nurture and develop the creativity, musical talent and performance skills of the regional folk music youth ensemble.

Folkestra is the North East regional folk music youth ensemble for young musicians ages 14-19 based at Sage Gateshead. The repertoire is negotiated by the Musical Director and by Folkestra and includes everything from traditional North-Eastern tunes through to pieces composed specifically for the group.

Folkestra have played at the BBC Proms in The Royal Albert Hall, for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Celtic Connections, The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, and many more local performances. Folkestra works closely within the Sage Gateshead’s Folkworks performance programme and performs in selected Folkworks events and concerts.

Main Duties and responsibilities

• Direct the music, plan and lead Folkestra rehearsals.
• Lead performances and perform with Folkestra, as appropriate.
• Work within Sage Gateshead’s priorities and objectives, as set out in the business plan, including and especially Folkworks and the folk and traditional elements of Sage Gateshead’s work
• Liaise efficiently with the Head of Music Learning, Folk Programme Leader, Music Learning Manager and Activity Producer for Folkestra, regarding all strategic and operational elements.
• Work with the music directors of feeder groups and other Sage Gateshead ensembles, including Folkworks Saturdays and other Folkworks activities.
• Support the musical development of the young people and engage actively in recruitment.
• Musically programme the group, in consultation with the young people, with ideas that have significance to the young people, and Sage Gateshead.
• Motivate and work directly with the young people to help them achieve the very best results.
• Bring practical knowledge and understanding of folk and traditional music.
• Accept appropriate individual responsibility for the observance, promotion and implementation of Health & Safety, Customer Care, Equality and Diversity, Dignity at Work and other policies with the Trust.
• Undertake other such duties that are appropriate to the level of the post

Knowledge, experience and skills required to do the job

Technical and Performance
• An excellent music performer.
• An acute knowledge of folk and traditional music.
• A deep understanding of various folk and traditional music styles and knowledge of performance traditions.
• Interpretive and arranging skills that enable effective and emotional communication of a wide range of music.
• Outstanding music leading skills.
• An effective and efficient rehearsal technique.
• Ability to inspire and communicate musically and verbally with audiences of all ages, both on and off the stage.
• Have a significant musical skill and a proven ability to provide a performance experience of the highest calibre.
• Knowledge of the UK and wider folk and traditional music scene and the ability to develop new relationships, in consultation and with support from Sage Gateshead.

Administrative and Personal
• Ability and commitment to collaborate as part of a management team.
• Openness to the ideas of others; ability to inspire creativity.
• Commitment to develop a strong working relationship with other music leaders.
• Ability to operate within established budgetary limits.
• Commitment to fulfilling the group’s potential as an artistic and community resource.
• Ability to communicate effectively with students, parents, the public and the press on related matters.
• Ability to lead and inspire others.
• Excellent negotiation skills and commitment to collaboration.
• Commitment to promoting and developing Sage Gateshead’s ethos and spirit of innovation.

Terms and Conditions

The salary for this position is negotiable and candidates will be expected to work on selected Sunday afternoon rehearsals plus concert days and residentials, over around 30 days per academic year.

We also welcome applications from those who are self-employed.

If employed, the holiday entitlement is 33 days per annum pro rata (including statutory holidays). You will be auto enrolled into our pension scheme after 3 months of employment. We also offer subsidised parking for staff members, as well as a discount in our café, and access to a voluntary health cash plan.

How to Apply

Applications must be made on a North Music Trust application form which can be obtained from the Job Vacancy section of the Sage Gateshead website. We regret that CVs cannot be accepted. If you have any queries about your application please contact 0191 443 5259.


Please find a Word version of the application form here

Please find a PDF version of the application form here

Applications should be returned no later than 9am on 10 September 2015

Following the short listing process, successful candidates will be invited to the first round of interviews on Saturday 26th September followed by a second round on Sunday November 8th where you will be asked to work with Folkestra members for a short period of time.

Applications should be returned to: (Please note that if emailing your application you should receive an automated response – if you do not please call 0191 443 5259)

or by mail to
The HR Team – Sage Gateshead
St Mary’s Square
Gateshead Quays