New Appointments in Music: UK and Ireland (November 2019)

Anna-Maria Helsing has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

New Appointments in Music: UK and Ireland (November 2019)

Appointments at Welsh National Opera, Music Generation, BBC Concert Orchestra and Music Network.

Welsh National Opera has announced the appointment of arts management professional Yvette Vaughan Jones as the new Chair of the board of directors, beginning her new role immediately. Jones has extensive experience in the arts in both the UK and internationally and is the first woman in the company’s history to take on the role. 

Jones’ expansive career in the arts has seen her work with various independent multi-disciplinary arts organisations and the Arts Council of Wales, where she founded Wales Arts International, a fund for artists and arts organisations in Wales to take on projects at a European level. In 2008, she wrote Cardiff’s bid for City of Culture in 2008 and was also involved with the Wales Centre in Brussels, where she worked as a project manager. In taking on this new position, she will be standing down from her current role as Chief Executive of Somerset arts centre, Visiting Arts, and also her position as Chair of No Fit State Circus in December 2019.

Commenting on her new appointment, Jones said:

I am thrilled at the opportunity to take on the Chair of Welsh National Opera at this time and am acutely aware of the eminence of previous Chairs who have done such a fine job.  WNO is a fantastic organisation whose origins are well known to have been formed in the community choirs for which Wales is rightly famous. I think that national organisations will need to be very different in the 21st century.  There is an ever increasing need to show how the national companies reflect the widely differing interests of the people of Wales and England from Anglesey to Ely. 

There were also five new additions to the Welsh National Opera board of directors. Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, University of London, Lynne Berry will take on the position of Senior Independent Director, and will be joined on the board by media professional Manon Edwards Ahir, former Executive Vice President of Mars, Aileen Richards, medical professional Dr Chitra Bharucha MBE and Nicola Amery, former Operations Director at Spire Healthcare. 

In addition to these new roles, Nigel Goldsworthy has been appointed as a new independent member of audit and risk.

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Music Generation has announced the appointment of music educator and project manager Dr Jennifer O’Connor-Madsen to the role of Music Education Partnership (MEP) Support Manager. This is a new position in Music Generation that will see O’Connor-Madsen develop existing and newly established local MEPs across the organisation. 

O’Connor-Madsen has more than ten years experience teaching piano, group keyboard and music theory to primary school children and has lectured at third level in St Patrick’s College Drumcondra. She has a PhD in musicology from Maynooth University and her doctoral thesis explored the role of women and music in nineteenth-century Dublin. She is founder and organiser of the Women and Music in Ireland Conference series and has contributed to several RTÉ Lyric FM documentaries on the subject. From 2014 to 2018 she was Senior Examiner for the Royal Irish Academy of Music local centre exams and in 2018 she became the Music Development Officer for Music Generation Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. 

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Finnish conductor Anna-Maria Helsing has just been appointed Principal Guest Conductor at the BBC Concert Orchestra, joining the current conducting team of Principal Conductor Bramwell Tovey, Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth and Chief Guest Conductor Keith Lockhart. In her new role, Helsing will also further connections with contemporary composers such as current Composer-in-Residence Dobrinka Tabakova. 

One of Scandinavia’s leading conductors, Helsing has conducted all major Finnish and Swedish orchestras including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Oulu Symphony where she was Chief Conductor from 2010 to 2013, becoming the first ever female conductor of a Finnish symphony orchestra. 

In May 2018 she first worked with the BBC Orchestras and Choirs on a collaboration with the BBC Philharmonic for one of their Red Brick Sessions and subsequently featured with the BBC CO in January 2019 in a programme featuring violinist Jennifer Pike, and again in June 2019 at the Southbank Centre, London.

The role will span three years initially and will see Helsing lead the BBC Concert Orchestra in a series of projects. Her first concert with the orchestra in her new position will take place on 13 December, live on BBC Radio 3’s Afternoon Concert. In February 2020, she will lead the orchestra in a family concert format that she co-created with the BBC CO

Commenting on her appointment, Andrew Connolly, Director of the BBC Concert Orchestra, said:

I am delighted that Anna-Maria has accepted our invitation to become the BBC Concert Orchestra’s new Principal Guest Conductor. Having built a strong affinity with the orchestra in just a few projects, we look forward to welcoming her fully into the wider BBC Concert Orchestra family from next April. Audiences can expect to be inspired by Anna-Maria’s musicianship and imaginative programming. Passionate about bringing more people to classical music, her openness of approach aligns closely with our central mission here at the BBC Concert Orchestra. I am certain this will be a significant partnership which will delight concert and radio audiences alike and can say on behalf of the whole orchestra that we look forward to much exciting music-making with Anna-Maria in the coming years.

Anna-Maria Helsing said: 

I am both delighted and thrilled at the prospect of further developing my collaboration with the BBC Concert Orchestra as their new Principal Guest Conductor. The orchestra, with so many high calibre musicians, offers exciting artistic opportunities and I can hardly wait to explore what we can achieve together. Right from our first joint project last January, I instantly felt a special connection to these outstanding players, which made working together a privilege and I look forward to creating great music with them in the years to come.

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Broadcaster and director of the MA in Songwriting at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance Carl Corcoran has been appointed to the Board of Music Network, it was announced. With over forty years experience in songwriting, publishing, management, performance and broadcasting, Carl Corcoran joins the board of directors chaired by Peter Finnegan, Managing Director of Communiqué International.

Corcoran’s career in music began in the 1970s when he started recording music under the pseudonym Jamie Stone. He recorded three albums with EMI and moved to New York, where he lived for twenty years, working as a performing musician, a music publisher and also in management. He returned to Ireland in 1999 and worked with RTÉ Lyric fm and RTÉ Radio 1, presenting shows such as The Lyric Breakfast and the acclaimed The Blue of the Night, until his retirement from RTÉ in 2017. 

Corcoran completed the MA in Community Music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, and in 2017, e became Course Director of the MA in Songwriting at the Academy.

Peter Finnegan, Chair of Music Network, commented

We are delighted to welcome Carl to our Board. His deep knowledge and experience across a range of genres will be an enormous asset to us in fulfilling Music Network’s mission. 

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For September appointments, see here

Published on 22 November 2019

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