The award winners were:
- Concert Hall Manager of the Year ‒ Kevin Appleby, Turner Sims, Southampton
- Artist Manager of the Year ‒ James Brown, Hazard Chase
- Orchestra Manager of the Year ‒ David Butcher, chief executive, Britten Sinfonia
Violinist Nicola Benedetti presented the awards to Appleby and Brown, and the Orchestra Manager of the Year award was presented to David Butcher by ABO director Mark Pemberton, in a pre-recorded video package.
The jury was made up of CM correspondents Andrew Green, Andrew Stewart and Simon Tait, consultant editor Keith Clarke, and Louise Mitchell of the British Association of Concert Halls. Mark Pemberton, director of the ABO, was a non-voting member of the panel.
Benedetti also presented the ABO Award to the Royal Philharmonic Society in its 200th year, ‘as the institution considered by the members of the Association of British Orchestras to have made an outstanding contribution to orchestral life in the UK’.
Butcher’s award citation highlighted the Britten Sinfonia’s ‘landmark 20th anniversary season, a truly exceptional performance’ and the start of its tenure as associate ensemble at the Barbican Centre last October, as well as the launch of a new professional vocal ensemble and the Britten Sinfonia Academy ‒ all topped off by record turnover in 2011/12. ‘This award honours his unshakeable commitment to excellence both on and off stage and recognises the vitality and innovation of his leadership.’
James Brown was honoured principally for the exceptionally successful year of Benjamin Grosvenor, whom he manages. ‘Nothing is more responsible and demanding than nurturing prodigious talent when it emerges at a very young age,’ reads the citation. ‘Last year saw the pianist Benjamin Grosvenor come ever more into the spotlight … One key element in this ever-developing success has been the patient work and guidance of his manager at the Hazard Chase office over seven years.’
Kevin Appleby’s success came through programming ‘an orchestral series that consistently punches above its weight in quality, innovation and content’, helping established and emerging chamber orchestras to find a regular base outside their home cities, and ‘a detailed, systematic and strategic approach to marketing which creates accurate audience analysis to inform creative programming’. ‘The Turner Sims orchestral programme sits within a successful wider music programme of chamber music and soloists and wider music genres such as folk, world and jazz, where there is considerable audience crossover. This award recognises his flair for programming and a significant contribution to our musical life.’
Last year’s winners were Sophie Lewis of Sinfonia Cymru, Stephen Lumsden of Intermusica and Paul Keene of Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham.
The 2013 ABO Conference runs in Leeds until 25 January with sessions covering many of the major challenges facing the classical industry, both in the UK and abroad. Subjects being discussed include the future of the classical recording industry; examinations of the classical music scene in the US, Australia and emerging markets such as Brazil; wellbeing for orchestral players; and the future of opera.