On Stage

A Word on the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus: Get to know the new Executive Director Jesse Schiffman

By The WORD San Diego News Staff

Jesse Schiffman is a distinguished graduate of The Juilliard School and a passionate advocate for music education, artistic programming, and community engagement. With over 15 years of experience in music Schiffman has dedicated his career to enriching the lives of others through the power of music.

During his tenure at the esteemed San Diego Symphony, Schiffman played a pivotal role in expanding and enhancing the organization’s education and community programs. His leadership and strategic partnership development skills led to remarkable growth and impact. He was instrumental in forging strong collaborations with community organizations, educational institutions, and local businesses, fostering a vibrant musical ecosystem.

Notably, Schiffman served as the lead writer for the San Diego Symphony’s Catalyst Fund grant from The League of American Orchestras. Through this prestigious grant, he worked to successfully secure funding to further promote Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) both internally and externally. His exceptional grant writing skills, combined with a deep understanding of the importance of EDIB initiatives, enabled the symphony to advance its mission of creating a more inclusive and diverse musical community.

Schiffman’s ability to articulate the value of music education and community outreach resonated with philanthropic organizations and private donors, allowing the symphony to expand its reach and impact. Schiffman’s expertise in partnership development and community engagement was crucial in building strong relationships with key stakeholders and fostering a shared vision for accessible and meaningful music programs.

With a deep commitment to cultivating the next generation of musicians and fostering inclusivity, Schiffman has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to music education. He has designed and implemented innovative programs that have empowered countless aspiring musicians to realize their potential and find their own voice in the world of music.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, he is known for his infectious enthusiasm, creativity, and ability to connect with diverse audiences. 

As an educator Schiffman has taught throughout New York City and served on the faculty of the Harlem School of The Arts as well as the El-Sistema inspired Harmony Program.  In 2009 and 2010 Schiffman had the opportunity to travel to Salvador, Brazil and work with students in the El-Sistema youth orchestra Neojiba.

As a respected figure in the music industry, Schiffman continues to champion the transformative power of music, advocating for its universal accessibility and profound influence on individual lives and communities. His unwavering commitment to excellence and his remarkable ability to bridge the gap between artistic expression and community engagement makes him a truly exceptional force in the world of music.

What are you looking forward to as the new Executive Director at SD Gay Men’s Chorus?

I am thrilled to be joining such a venerable performing arts organization with a deep history of artistic excellence and fostering community. I am especially looking forward to engaging new audiences, expanding our schools and community programs, and continuing to nurture our international relationships.

Tell our readers about the many concerts and events the chorus is involved in year-round?

Over the course of a year, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus performs three large concerts at the Balboa Theatre, each having two performances. Additionally, the SDGMC is regularly involved in community activities, including marching at Pride, singing for December Nights in Balboa Park, participating in the annual AIDS Walk and Run, fundraising events, and more. The Chorus is also available for private events.  

How can folks get involved with the chorus aside from attending a show?

Become a member of the Chorus!  Follow us on Instagram (@sdgaymenschorus) and Facebook for audition announcements and more. For those who would prefer to work behind the scenes, we are always in need of volunteers. For more information, visit our website, sdgmc.org, and click on “Join the Chorus” to learn more about different ways to participate.

Can you tell us about the next two events coming up?

On Sunday November 12th, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will be having our first annual Harvest and Harmony fundraising event at The Rail from 11AM – 1PM. This event is an opportunity to share all the exciting things happening ahead of our 40th anniversary next season. Tickets for Harvest and Harmony are $100, and these donations go into our schools and community programs so that we can reach new audiences, as well as elevate the artistic integrity of the Chorus.

On December 9th and 10th the Chorus will have its annual Jingle concert at the Balboa Theatre, our celebration of winter holidays through joyous singing and celebration of artistic excellence, with a heavy sprinkling of that Queer fabulousness that only our community can provide. This program is selling quickly—buy your tickets now before it’s too late! This is a show you will not want to miss.