Monday, 15 March 2021

Classical Music/ABO Awards 2021

2021 ABO Classical Music Concert Hall Manager of the Year_John Gilhooly © Kaupo Kikkas.
John Gilhooly
2021 ABO Classical Music
Concert Hall Manager of the Year
(photo Kaupo Kikkas)

On Friday,the Association of British Orchestra's (ABO) annual conference came to an end. Under the theme of Aftershock, the 2021 ABO Conference brought delegates from all areas of the classical music industry together to take an in-depth look at the challenges the orchestral sector has faced in this most unprecedented of years. The conference ended with the announcement of the annual ABO Award and the winners of the 2021 ABO/Classical Music Awards.

The ABO dedicated the ABO Award to all the musicians who help to make the UK’s orchestral sector the global success that it is and whose livelihoods are currently at stake as a result of the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Simon Webb, ABO Chair who presented the ABO Award, commented: "The ABO Award is presented annually to the individual or institution considered by the membership to have made the most important contribution to the orchestral life of the UK.  But in this exceptional year the ABO board decided that it was not one individual that needed celebrating, but a collective. While it has been a tough year for those of us who manage orchestras, it has been even tougher for those who make the music. Forced to down tools, go on furlough, rely on the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, or cope with no income at all, they have had to show reserves of resilience and ingenuity to survive. They have had to accept cancellations with good grace, and show flexibility when we have spotted a last minute opportunity to put concerts on. And what has been impressive is that so many have kept the music alive, from playing on their doorsteps to creating online resources for children. So it is with pride that we have decided to present the 2021 ABO Award to ‘the musicians’."

Winner of the Classical Music Artist Manager of the Year category is President of HarrisonParrott France and CEO of Polyarts, Moema Parrott, who was praised for the innovation and creativity she has shown in spearheading a range of digital initiatives.

Classical Music Concert Hall Manager of the Year went to Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall, John Gilhooly OBE, for his extraordinary achievement in curating Wigmore Hall’s high-quality series of free online performances – the first to take place in any UK hall following the start of the first lockdown – which were broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and which continue to bring the joy of live music to audiences throughout the world.

The recipient of the Orchestra Manager of the Year award was Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Crispin Woodhead, for the leadership he has shown in the creation of the OAE’s new digital platform, the OAE Player, and the launch of the OAE’s initiative with Acland Burghley School in the London Borough of Camden which has seen the orchestra become the first in Britain to take up a full, active residence in a secondary school.

For the first time, the decision was made by the panel to present an additional Commendation which went to Greg Felton, Digital Creative at the London Philharmonic Orchestra, for his work expanding the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s online presence over the past year including single-handedly managing the filming and streaming of the LPO’s series of online concerts. 

Further details from the ABO website.

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