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May 4, 2023
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
$80 – $95
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Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
L35 / 25 Collins Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
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London Symphony Orchestra: Looking To The Future

Lunch with Kathryn McDowell CBE DL

Hosted by:
Sally Arnold

May 4, 2023 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

$80 – $95

A story of vision, trust and leadership.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, cultural partner and presenter of the London Symphony Orchestra in Melbourne is delighted to partner with Melbourne Forum for a lunch with Guest Speaker Kathryn McDowell  CBE, DL Managing Director of London Symphony Orchestra.

“How one of the world’s great orchestras came through the Pandemic and looks to their future”.

Kathryn will explain how her Team and Board looked into a dark place, at the start of Covid. The orchestra is Membership based and are paid only when performing. It took substantial Financial risks, Regrouping, Tenacity, Grit and Optimism to solve this frightening challenge. It was achieved extraordinarily within 3 months.

The path towards the London Symphony Orchestra’s survival and success involved unique, global support and innovation. Plus enormous trust from musicians as vaccinations were not available until 6 months after they started playing.

This story of  Orchestral survival can be seen as a “Method” transferable into many large global organisations in these times. Kathryn’s approach worked, alongside adding a Digital concert hall in 2020 plus dispensation to start travelling again, firstly performing in Aix en Provence.

Kathryn McDowell was born and brought up in Northern Ireland and read Music at Edinburgh University. After a post-graduate course in teacher training, she spent a year in Vienna working with political refugees.  

She was one of the first education and community managers to work with orchestras, creating a pioneering programme with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the 1980s, and leading the Association of British Orchestra’s first national education project. She worked with Welsh National Opera and the Ulster Orchestra, before joining the Arts Council as its Opera and Music Theatre officer in 1992, later becoming its Music Director.   

 In 1999, she was appointed Chief Executive of the Wales Millennium Centre, where she led the bid for the new arts centre through the development phase of its cultural ambition, architectural design and funding. Between 2002 – 05, she was Director of the City of London Festival, before she joined the London Symphony Orchestra as Managing Director in 2005.   

She is a member of the St Paul’s Cathedral Council, and was elected Chair of the Association of British Orchestras in 2014. She holds honorary awards from Trinity College, the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School and received the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Distinguished Musician award in 2018, for extraordinary services to music in the orchestral sector. She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London in 2009, and was awarded a CBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

We welcome members and friends to this lunch at No.35 at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, for a riveting talk of survival and success in one of the toughest times.

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