ABO announces latest mentoring programme

The Association of British Orchestra (ABO)’s Find Your Way programme, designed to mentor and develop the future leaders of British classical music, has announced its cohort for 2017-18.

Six professionals in ABO-member orchestras have been chosen for an intensive nine-month programme of professional development. The programme is personally tailored, with an experienced mentor assigned to each participant. Funding for Find Your Way comes from the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England.

Richard Wigley, managing director at the Ulster Orchestra and leader of orchestral support organisation Wigley Arts Management, will head the programme. Fiona Harvey, ABO’s education and youth ensembles consultant, will act as project manager, with support from Wigley Arts Management’s leadership trainer Andy Beaumont.

The six people in this year’s programme are Annie Lydford (head of communications at English National Opera), Claire Bayliss (orchestra manager at City of London Sinfonia), Helen Dunne (orchestra manager at Royal Opera House), Nick Jackman (development director at London Philharmonic Orchestra), Simon Fairclough (director of development at City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), and Toks Dada (programme coordinator at Town Hall Symphony Hall in Birmingham).

As well as developing their knowledge and skillsets, the six participants will work on various projects at their mentor’s orchestra, develop ways to improve their own organisations, and curate a session on ‘Fresh Thinking’ at the ABO Annual Conference next year.

The programme will also include a residential course – following a successful pilot scheme last year – and support from programme alumni including the Royal College of Music’s Flo Ambrose, and BBC Concert Orchestra’s Alex Walden.