Tell us a bit about your working history before joining the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).
I started my career as a professional cellist, initially as a freelancer playing in West End shows, recording sessions, orchestras etc and then as a member of the BBC Concert Orchestra. One day, a colleague very helpfully suggested that as I wasn’t very good at being told what to do, maybe I should move into arts management – and tell people what to do! So I stopped playing (the music profession heaved a huge sigh of relief!) and began working on the business side of the music industry.
How did you get involved working at the RPO?
Having done various jobs in arts management, I decided to gain experience in the corporate world and moved out of the music industry for a few years; my path crossed with Ian Maclay’s (RPO Managing Director) and he invited me to establish a development department at the RPO. It was too good an opportunity to pass up……!
What does your job entail?
The RPO Development Department is charged with diversifying the Orchestra’s revenue streams via sponsorship, private benefactors, trusts/foundations and events to help enable the RPO’s artistic goals and outreach activity. Or, put simply, raising money!
Describe a typical working day for you (if there is such a thing!).
I’m an early riser and am usually in the office by 8.15am. A large part of my day revolves around meeting and inspiring people who might be able to help the Orchestra, by sponsoring a concert or tour, joining the RPO Chair Partner Programme or supporting an outreach project. Building a strong network is crucial and I’ll talk to anyone who’ll listen! You never know where a connection might lead. If the Orchestra is in London I usually host current or prospective supporters at evening concerts.
Tell us about some highlights of your time working here at the RPO.
Artistically, one of the highlights of the 2013/14 season was the Orchestra’s performance of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé conducted by Charles Dutoit, who is a true master of French orchestral music; also, the amazing American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, singing Les nuits d’été by Berlioz. From a fundraising perspective it has to be the Royal Gala Concert & Dinner, which the Orchestra’s Patron HRH The Duke of York hosted last November at Windsor Castle, a truly magical setting. The weeks leading up to the event were immensely stressful, but we had a wonderful evening that raised a significant sum of money for the Orchestra’s community and education programme, RPO resound.
How do you relax in your spare time?
With a very full-time job, two small children and a demanding wife, spare time is an absolute luxury, but I do love to cook and enjoy a good bottle of wine!!!