ABO Conference Recap: The ABO/Classical Music Awards
Winners are announced for the ABO/Classical Music Awards for Artist Manager of the Year, Concert Manager of the Year and Orchestral Manager of the Year, as well as the annual ABO award and a surprise special ABO price.
the ABO Conference dinner on the second day of the conference, saw the presentation of the ABO/Classical Music Awards at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, City Halls. Recognizing Artist Manager of the Year 2022, Concert Manager of the Year and Orchestral Manager of the Year, the awards were hosted by the ABO Chairman and BBC Philharmonic director Simon Webb by Classic FMs Mylene Klass.
The first prize of the evening was awarded to the former general manager of the Mozart Players in London (LMP), Julia Desbruslais in recognition of her work in establishing a digital business model with the classic club as well as the launch of the LMP’s partnership with Black Lives in Music and the start of the Spotlight Series, featuring the UK’s brightest and best young musicians. During the pandemic, Desbruslais has also been working on LMP’s free educational resources available to young people in Croydon.
The Concert Hall Manager of the Year award went to Britten Pears Arts managing director, Roger Wright. Following the cancellation of the 2020 edition Aldeburg Festival, Britten Pears Arts has put her work online. As soon as it was cleared, it became one of the first organizations in the UK to run Covid-safe live shows. Britten Pears Arts used public funds to hire freelance musicians and creatives at a time when employment in the industry was scarce. The following year, Britten Pears Arts presented socially distanced concerts at Snape and opened the venue’s free outdoor dome stage.
This category also saw a special mention for Matthew Sims, Head of Arts and Venues for Leeds City Council who helped Leeds Town Hall reopening quickly after the first lockdown to provide a much needed venue for recordings, concerts, opera and recitals.
This year, the winner of the Artist Manager of the Year category was the General Manager of International Association of Artist Managers (IAMA), Atholl Swainston-Harrison. Swainston-Harrison has been recognized for his work in providing practical support to artist managers in relation to the Covid pandemic, as well as the ongoing issues associated with Brexit. Along with her team, Swainston-Harrison has worked with the music industry in the UK and across Europe, working to demystify the rules and regulations that prevent touring and lobbying the government to alleviate the current uncertainties.
The ABO also announced the Kanneh-Mason family as recipients of the annual ABO award in recognition of the role they play in inspiring budding musicians and other parents. Awards host Simon Webb praised the family for “bringing joy and inspiration to all of us, and will continue to do so for years to come”. The award was received on behalf of the family by parents Kaduata Kanneh and Stuart Mason who, according to Webb, “made this possible through their tireless commitment and belief in the value of music in the lives of their children”.
A special surprise ABO award was also presented to ABO Chief Executive Mark Pemberton OBE in recognition of his immense efforts in guiding organizations and members through Brexit and the pandemic. Webb, who presented the award, said: “Those of us who know and love the orchestral sector, the public, the musicians, the members of ABO, can have no doubt about the importance of the work that Mark has done and continues to do to ensure the orchestra thrives no matter what challenges we face.
We ended the evening with a lively ceilidh to music by Live music now in Scotland The Dockyard Trio: Lea Søndergaard Larsen (bodhran), Seán Gray (guitar/vocals), Euan McLaughlin (violin).