The London Philharmonic, which lost its chairman last week, has taken the unprecedented step of appointing a chair who is not a player.
An annual general meeting agreed to hand the chair to an ex-banker, Victoria Sharp, formerly of Goldman Sachs and currently a close ally of Mayor Boris Johnson.
There will be only seven players on a board of 19. The y can be outvoted on any issue except player membership, which remains a matter for the musicians.
Chief exec Timothy Walker said the move was needed to improve fundraising. The orch lost 16% of its turnover in the past financial year.
Player control has been a distinctive factor of London orchestras for many years, for better or worse. Abolishing it amounts a leap into the dark – or into the arms of the financial sector.
We hope they know what they are doing.
Read the official version in Classical Music.
Here’s Victoria Sharp’s c.v.:
Victoria Sharp was educated in the US at Phillips Academy, Andover and at Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she gained a BA in the History of Art. In 1982 she joined the Mergers and Acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs moving with them in 1984 to London. In 1987 she joined Russell Reynolds Associates, one of the leading international executive search firms. In 1991 Victoria returned to post-graduate studies in British Art at the Courtauld Institute, subsequently joining the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.
Victoria is currently Chief Executive of London Music Masters and is on the Council of the Royal College of Music. Until 2011 she was a trustee of the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians, an initiative established by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and is currently a member of the Mayor’s Music Education Steering Group.