A Renewed Relevance for Symphony Orchestras

Mark Pemberton by Joe Plommer
Rob Streevelaar by Elmar van der Marel
Sophie Lewis by Hall Photography
Andreas Richter, by Sonja Werner
  • event type:Classical:NEXT 15 conference
  • date:22 May 2015
  • time:11:00 - 11:45
  • city/area:Rotterdam
  • venue:De Doelen - Conference Room 1
  • country:Netherlands
  • event posted by:Piranha Arts

Chaired by:

Mark Pemberton (UK)
Director, Association of British Orchestras

Rob Streevelaar (The Netherlands)
Managing director, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra


Sophie Lewis (UK)
General manager, Sinfonia Cymru

Andreas Richter (Germany)
Arts consultant

Orchestras face many challenges these days. Demographic changes, changing consumption patterns and cuts in subsidies are only a few examples. Internationally, governments and major donors withdraw themselves or alter their roles and responsibilities towards orchestras and we see how this - as ‘unorchestrated’ consequences - has a negative impact on public support. These developments ask for new ways of organising our orchestra’s. Therefore we confront ourselves with existential questions: what is the raison d’etre of our orchestras? What is their value, be it economic, social or intrinsic? What activities can best unlock these qualities? These questions will be addressed from an international perspective.The united Dutch symphony orchestras in november 2014 presented a shared outlook on their future: ‘Orchestras today, valuable for the future’. This document serves as starting point for this session.


Mark Pemberton:
After graduating from Oxford, Mark was Administrator of Quicksilver Theatre for Children, Administrator of Drama Centre London, Head of Development & Marketing at Mountview Theatre School, and Chief Executive of NODA, before joining the ABO in 2007.

Rob Streevelaar:
Rob Streevelaar is director of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra; preferred partner of the Dutch National Opera and one of the lead orchestra’s of the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam. The orchestra stands apart for its artistic excellence and is well known for its extensive program on education, outreach and talent development.

Sophie Lewis:
Sophie Lewis has 20 years of experience in arts management including roles at English National Opera, Arts Council England and the Welsh National Opera. Since joining Sinfonia Cymru in 2006, she has driven significant and sustained growth across the organisation, with a particular focus on artistic and organisational innovation.

Andreas Richter:
Andreas Richter has worked for more than 18 years in leading positions in the orchestral world. He was general manager of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and has also worked as director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. He is now running a company specialized in consulting and managing orchestras.

Photo credits: Mark Pemberton by Joe Plommer; Rob Streevelaar by Elmar van der Marel; Sophie Lewis by Hall Photography; Andreas Richter, by Sonja Werner.