New Appointments in Music (May 2019)

Santtu-Matias Rouvali – new Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra (Photo: Camilla Greenwell)

New Appointments in Music (May 2019)

Appointments at the Benedetti Foundation, Music Generation, Philharmonia Orchestra, New Music USA and Sligo Festival of Baroque Music.

A round-up of recent news.


Following violinist Nicola Benedetti’s announcement at the beginning of the year that she would be establishing a new charity for music education, Michael Garvey, currently Director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, has been announced as Executive Director of the Benedetti Foundation.

Garvey has been Director of BBC NOW since 2013, and before that Chief Executive of the Academy of Ancient Music and General Manager at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment He also worked at the Arts Council England and Classic FM.

Commenting on the news, Garvey said:

The future well-being, support and nurturing of our young people has never been more important and the provision of high-quality music education has never been in greater jeopardy across the UK… I am honoured that [Nicola Benedetti] has chosen me to support her in this critical work and I look forward to the two of us working together to realise her bold ambitions.

Benedetti added:

Michael brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of both education and music sectors, as well as a shared belief and sense of urgency relating to the power of high-quality music education. I cannot wait to work alongside such a fantastic team, and to realise our ambitions.

For more, visit


Music Generation, together with the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board, has announced Ellen Glennon as Music Generation Development Officer for Roscommon.

In her new post Glennon will develop and oversee an affordable, accessible programme of performance music education for children and young people ages 0 to 18 across the county.

Glennon has worked in music for more than 30 years, including through her local Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann branch, as a pianist and accompanist, and nationally and internationally as a member of the band Sín É. Most recently she held the role of Tutor at Mullingar Training Development Agency and previously lectured in Music Appreciation at Athlone IT.

Commenting on her appointment, Glennon said:

I have seen the impact that quality music education, in its various facets, can have on an individual. From learning to performing, sharing to listening, building confidence to nurturing talent, there are no limits to the benefits of a creative musical experience for the individual and the wider community.

Music Generation is currently advertising for six other Music Generation Development Officer positions in Kerry, Kildare, Longford, Meath, Tipperary and Sligo. See details here.

For more, visit


The Philharmonia Orchestra in London has appointed Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali as its next Principal Conductor. The 33-year-old is one of the youngest artists to be appointed as Principal Conductor of a London orchestra. He has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia since 2017 and will take up his new position in 2021/22. Rouvali succeeds Esa-Pekka Salonen who will take up the position of Conductor Emeritus with the Philharmonia.

Speaking about his appointment, Rouvali said:

This is the start of a great adventure: London is such an exciting place for orchestras, and the Philharmonia is at the heart of classical music life in this city. The players of the Philharmonia can do anything: they are enormously talented and show an incredible hunger to create great performances. There is huge possibility with this orchestra, and we will do great things together.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali was born in Lahti, Finland, where his parents were both members of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Trained as a percussionist and with experience playing drums in rock bands, he took up conducting at a young age and studied at the Sibelius Academy. His first principal conductorship, which he still holds, was in Tampere, Finland. Rouvali is also Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Helen Sprott, Managing Director of the Philharmonia, said:

Santtu represents the future: he’s young, dynamic, a natural musician and a conducting wizard. He has a proven record of building audiences for orchestras and for thinking creatively about the role a symphony orchestra can play in 21st century society. Santtu is a worthy successor to Esa-Pekka, with whom we are delighted to be continuing our relationship in a new guise.

For more, visit


New Music USA in New York has appointed Vanessa Reed as President and CEO. Reed has been Chief Executive of PRS Foundation in the UK for the past 11 years. She is also known as the founder of Keychange, the campaign to encourage gender balance in music programming.

Reed succeeds Ed Harsh, who left New Music USA in 2018. Interim CEO Deborah Steinglass will continue to serve in the role until Reed assumes the permanent position in August.

Commenting on her appointment, Reed said:

I believe that music, like every art form, deserves specialist resources and advocates that offer support, build new connections, and create a better future for its creators, practitioners, and audiences… I’m excited to be taking up this post at New Music USA, which plays a crucial role in supporting and connecting America’s many talented and diverse new music communities.

For more, visit


Sligo Festival of Baroque Music has appointed Nicola Cleary as its new Festival Director. Cleary takes over from Rod Alston who founded the festival in 1995.

Cleary is a violinist specialising in Baroque music. She has recorded and toured as a member of Deutsche Kammerakademie, European Chamber Orchestra, Mozart Chamber Orchestra Salzburg, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Ireland and Orchestra of St Cecilia. She is also a member of Paris-based Orchestra Orfeo 55.

The festival takes place this year on 27–29 September. For more, visit


In other news, it has been announced that Kevin Rafter will succeed Sheila Pratschke as chair of the Irish Arts Council. For more, see here.  For appointments in April see here.

Published on 24 May 2019


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