Arts Executive Search is a leading international recruitment firm serving a broad range of performing arts organisations, venues, festivals, classical record labels, artist management agencies, publishing companies, universities, conservatoires and foundations.

We recruit exceptional management talent and non-executive directors and consult on leadership, infrastructure and non-profit governance.




I was placed as Director of Artistic Planning at the Melbourne Symphony through a process run expertly by Arts Executive Search; it was a daunting move but undoubtedly the right one for me at the time, and I felt supported and promoted through every step of the search. Since then, Mary Carlson has been a professional confidant, whose opinion and wise counsel I value greatly.
Huw Humphreys, Head of Music Barbican Centre


I was first introduced to Mary Carlson during the search which brought me to Manhattan School of Music as president. During that search, Mary was the consummate professional, staying in regular touch, keeping me abreast of the stages of the search, asking great and probing questions of me during the vetting process, and giving me the appropriate background I needed to present my best self to the committee. Since becoming president, Mary has helped us with our searches for new members of our Board, giving us valuable and critical insights into prospective Trustees so we are able to make the best decisions possible regarding “fit” with our institution. More generally, Mary loves the performing arts and those who create it, perform it, and prepare others for it. That love and dedication comes through in each work product and each interaction. James Gandre, President of Manhattan School of Music


When seeking a new CEO for the City of London Sinfonia (CLS) some years ago, I was looking for an executive search consultant whom I could trust and rely on to produce candidates who could add value to our highly differentiated strategy. CLS’s mission is not just to be a leading chamber ensemble but also a pioneer in social impact/participation work. Mary’s knowledge of the sector and transparency guided us to a decision which has proved to be the right choice. It was great to collaborate with someone I could count on as a friend and not a ‘salesperson’ which is sadly often the case in the field of search.
John Singer, Chairman of City of London Sinfonia


Mary Carlson has been an important sounding board for me for many years, giving an invaluable perspective on both structure and strategy within arts recruitment as well as advice on branding and messaging. Her unique ability to assess current trends in the business along with an impressive knowledge of who is doing what and where, means that she is always a fast route to seeking out exciting talent within the business.
John Berry, CBE; Artistic Director of Opera Ventures and former Artistic Director of English National Opera


Mary Carlson war nicht nur maßgeblich daran beteiligt, mich vor Jahren als Direktor zur Daniel Barenboim Stiftung u bringen. Seither ist mir Mary auch eine absolut vertrauenswürdige, diskrete und bewundernswert professionelle Ratgeberin, sowohl für mich persönlich wie bei der erfolgreichen Besetzung von Schlüsselpositionen an der Barenboim-Said Akademie und dem Pierre Boulez Saal. Ich kann Mary aus voller Überzeugung empfehlen.
Dr. Carsten Siebert Kanzler und Geschäftsführer Barenboim-Said Akademie


Mary Carlson ist großartig! Sie hat diese unglaubliche Fähigkeit, Menschen und zusammen zu bringen und großartige Projekte und Firmen zu bauen. Mit ihren makellos hohen Standards, ihrer Vertrauenswürdigkeit und ihrem zupackenden Charakter hat sie unserem Unternehmen nun schon seit einigen Jahren zusätzlichen Wert gegeben. Ich schätze die Zusammenarbeit mit ihr wirklich sehr. Matthias Röder, Managing Director des Karajan-Instituts in Salzburg und Kurator der Herbert-von-Karajan-Stiftung