The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), a major keystone of Ireland’s cultural and musical heritage, is in an exciting phase of growth, development and change with significant Government investment, having transferred from RTE to the National Concert Hall (NCH) in 2022. The NCH is putting the NSO at the heart of its’ programme, fostering its development and reputation as Irelands’ nationally and internationally respected Symphony Orchestra. This will be a very exciting time to join the NSO as the redevelopment plan for the National Concert Hall has been described as both a ‘once-in-a-generation’ refurbishment, and the ‘largest development project ever undertaken on a national cultural institution’.


The arrival of The National Symphony Orchestra and Choirs (the National Symphony Chorus, Cór Linn (Youth Choir) and Cór na nÓg (Children’s Choir) to the National Concert Hall is very timely, as the comprehensive new development plan ushers in a new era. Together we can strengthen and broaden the artistic offering we provide the Irish public – our stakeholders. Physically and culturally the NSO and the NCH will provide a mirror in which to see Ireland’s creative spirit and to reflect it around the world.


The NSO performs a very exciting season of over seventy events per annum at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, which is located in the heart of beautiful Dublin city centre, as well as undertaking a touring programme, family concerts and a range of commercial opportunities. In addition, NSO produces broadcasts, film and audio recordings as well as educational concerts and events. A number of exciting permanent roles are being advertised as part of the development plan for the NSO.


Purpose of role

The Leader position, National Symphony Orchestra, leads the orchestra and the 1st violin section. The Leader must have excellent solo and orchestral playing abilities and will be responsible for maintaining the highest musical standards, always encouraging the orchestra to strive for excellence.


To succeed in this role you must be a team player, committed to playing a full role in the life of the Orchestra. This is a dynamic work environment and the successful candidate must be able to work calmly and efficiently in these situations, possessing excellent communication and interpersonal skills.


Role Location

Based at the National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2.

Due to the nature of this role travel will be required on an ongoing basis to accommodate the orchestra and its programming commitments, together with other business requirements, both nationally and touring overseas.


Reports to: General Manager NSO & Choirs


Key Responsibilities

• To lead the Orchestra and manage the 1st Violin section.

• To guide the Orchestra or sections in rehearsal and in performance as required

• To take responsibility for the style, intonation, balance, ensemble, rhythm, and preparation of the section/s in conjunction with the Conductor.

• To maintain the highest standard of professional playing and musical and artistic excellence required by the NSO.

• To familiarise oneself with the relevant parts, including solos, and prepare them in advance including bowing as required.

• To support professionally and work collaboratively with Conductors and soloists engaged by the NSO.

• To be responsible for maintaining orchestral discipline in rehearsals.

• To build and support positive working relationships with all other members of the orchestra, the section and any freelance players engaged by the orchestra.

• To have effective people and performance management skills including the ability to give constructive feedback and deal with sensitive issues.

• To participate as appropriate in audition panels and trial assessment meetings, including writing brief audition and trial notes, and in orchestral and artistic meetings as required.

• To engage, with enthusiasm, in the general activities of the NSO, such as attendance at meetings, promotional activity and outreach and learning work, and to act as an ambassador for the NSO during these activities.

• To be a role model for NCH Values and to work in accordance with the NCH/SIPTU/MUI Agreement and all other NCH policies and guidelines.

• To lead the NSO effectively, and to share responsibility with the management for effective performance management, supporting all NCH policies on people management and diversity.

• To be able to foster an environment in which artistic excellence flourishes.

• To work in accordance with NCH Health and Safety guidelines and policy.


Person Specification

• Significant Leading experience, ideally in a symphonic environment.

• 3rd level qualification in performance or equivalent experience.

• Excellent professional orchestral and solo playing abilities including excellent technical and manual dexterity, intonation, and rhythmic stability.

• Knowledge of the range of repertoire of the National Symphony Orchestra.

• Ability to work collaboratively to inspire and contribute to performances that meet the highest musical standards by providing artistic direction and by motivating members of the section.

• Good interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and develop harmonious working relationships with a diverse range of people.

• Demonstrates commitment to maintain the reputation of the Orchestra.

• Participates actively as part of a diverse team and supportive of colleagues.

• Demonstrates respect for others by being fully prepared and ready to play at the start of every session.

• Ability to work to under pressure is essential, must be able to work calmly and efficiently in these situations.

• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

• Strong planning skills, to prepare parts, organise allocations and to make the best use of the resources available.

• Awareness of health and safety matters.



The following behaviours and characteristic are key to success in this role. Successful candidates are expected to demonstrate these competencies.


Leadership & Managing Performance – ability to create a vision and inspire others to realise it irrespective of circumstance. Sets challenging team and individual objectives, sharing clear expectations about required performance levels. Acknowledges success and monitors the performance of their section. Treats team members with honesty, respect and compassion.


Influencing & Persuading – ability to present sound and well-reasoned arguments to convince others. Can draw from a range of strategies to persuade people in a way that results in agreement or behaviour change.


Planning & Organising – is able to think ahead in order to establish an effective and appropriate course of action for self and others. Prioritises and plans activities considering all the relevant issues and factors such as deadlines, staffing and resources requirements.


Resilience – can maintain personal effectiveness by managing emotions in the face of pressure, setbacks or when dealing with provocative situations. Demonstrates an approach to work that is characterised by commitment, motivation, and energy.


Change Management – can understand and anticipate the need for change. Builds frameworks to plan and manage the continuous process of change.


Managing relationships - able to build and maintain effective working relationships with a range of people. Works co-operatively with others to be part of a team, as opposed to working separately or competitively.


Self-Development – can identify and apply opportunities for learning and development.


Key Relationships:

Internal: NCH Senior Leadership Team, NSO management and musicians team including the General Manager, Orchestra Manager, Planning & Event Coordinator, Artists, Chief Conductor, Principal Guest Conductor and Associate Artists, Marketing and Operations Admin; Other NCH employees as required


External: Venues inc. music and cultural sector, public bodies, media, government


Working Week

The standard working week applying to this role is 30 hours per week / 120 hours net per four-week period.

The NSO has a 7-day liability including weekends and public holidays and therefore flexibility is essential. There will a requirement for the post holder to work in other locations outside of the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Job Type

Fulltime (Liability commensurate with the development of the NSO)

Annual Leave

24 days scheduled by management, plus Leaders Leave,

Pension Details:

Single Public Sector Pension Scheme.


The probationary period is six months which may be extended to 12 months at management discretion.


Section Leader Grade: min €52,751 – max €61,869, plus a Leader allowance.


The above Job Description is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all duties involved and consequently, the post holder may be required to perform other duties as appropriate to the post which may be assigned to him/her from time to time and to contribute to the development of the role in line with ongoing change within the orchestra.



How to Apply: Submit your CV and a cover letter outlining your suitability for the role (attached as one document) via the online application process.

Close Date: 14th July 2023


Auditions will be held on the 4th and 5th September at the National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland




Leader Audition Booklet


For further details regarding the NSO please click here




It is important to note that the NCH are proud to be an inclusive, equal opportunity workplace. We are committed to equal employment opportunities regardless of Gender, Civil Status, Family Status, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Age, Disability, Race, Membership of the Traveller Community or any other characteristic protected by the Equality Act.