Organizational Design

Musician Leadership

Throughout the history of The Chicago Philharmonic Society, musicians have guided the policies and practices of the organization. This active involvement by musicians is now a formalized part of our organizational structure. Today, our musician members are over 200 of the Chicago area’s top classical musicians. We describe our large association of performing members as a “Community of Musicians,” a phrase coined by Pierre Boulez as the ideal form for a major musical arts organization. One basic principle guides our structure of musician leadership: The Society is most effective at achieving its musical aims when informed and controlled by musicians. Musicians participate in our leadership and governance in several ways:

  • Service on the board of directors. At any given time, at least half of the membership of our board of directors consists of musician members of the Society.  Click here to read more about The Chicago Philharmonic Society board of directors.
  • Participation in committees. The Chicago Philharmonic Society’s administration makes decisions based on the guidance and oversight of six committees: Artistic, Personnel, Patron Services, Institutional, Central Services, and Chamber Music. The majority of committee members are musician members of the Society, some of whom also serve on the board of directors. Click here for a list of committee members.
  • Involvement through the Musicians Advisory Council. This group of musician members elected by the board provides a large pool from which to draw future board and committee members. In addition, the council provides feedback to management and the board concerning the Society’s musical and organizational policies and activities. Each member encourages a wider interest in the Society’s affairs. Click here for a list of musicians advisory council members.
  • Employment on the administrative team. Chicago Philharmonic Society Executive Director Donna Milanovich was a flutist in the Chicago Philharmonic for almost 20 years before taking on her leadership role in the organization’s administration. The majority of the dedicated administrative team has degrees or minors in music and/or arts administration. Click here to read more about the Chicago Philharmonic Society staff.

Community Involvement

While musician leadership has always been a principle of The Chicago Philharmonic Society, we recognize the need for innovative leaders from a variety of backgrounds. Our governing bodies include, in addition to musicians, individuals from backgrounds including business, law, science, and other fields.

In 2016, the Society introduced Community Membership, which includes most subscribers as well as other enthusiastic members of the concertgoing public. Programs such as concert talks, sit-in rehearsals, and an “ask-a-musician” email forum open a dialogue between our musicians and the Chicago-area community we serve that strengthens the artistic experience for community and musician members alike.