It's parachute time again at EMI

It's parachute time again at EMI


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2010

Stephen Johns, V-P of artists and repertoire for EMI Classics, is on his way out. Before the axe starts falling in the next wave of Terra Firma cutbacks, Stephen has lined himself up a new venture as artistic director of the Royal College of Music.

The idea is that he will train students to find a foothold in the performing sector – and, perhaps, in whatever corners are left of the mainstream record industry.

It’s a smart move by the College and its principal, Colin Lawson, and a sad day for EMI where Stephen looked after, among others, Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink and the Belcea Quartet. Would the last one to leave please turn out the lights?

Press release follows below.


Royal College of Music

appoints Artistic Director


The Royal College of Music (RCM) is delighted to announce the appointment of Stephen Johns as its first ever Artistic Director.


Stephen Johns is currently Vice-President, Artists and Repertoire, at EMI Classics.  In his twelve years with EMI, Stephen has worked with artists including Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Leif Ove Andsnes, Evgeny Kissin, the Belcea Quartet and the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. In 2000 he was Guest Artistic Director for Spitalfields Winter Festival. During his career he has earned numerous accolades including three Grammy Awards, four Gramophone Awards and a Diapason d’Or.


Stephen read music at Cambridge where he was an organ scholar, and spent a short time teaching at Trinity Boys School early in his career.  He now looks forward to returning to education: “I am pleased to be moving into an area where I can share what I have learned working with artists at the highest level in the studio and beyond.  I hope also to help to provide the framework and to inspire the next generation of musicians to find new, exciting and innovative ways to perform their art.”


Director of the Royal College of Music Professor Colin Lawson said: “We are very excited to have appointed someone of Stephen’s calibre and reputation.  Creating a role of Artistic Director is a radical new step for a UK conservatoire, one which underlines the College’s commitment to the very highest artistic standards. In Stephen, we have an outstandingly well qualified candidate and I am confident that under his guidance the RCM’s performance profile will grow ever more illustrious.”


Stephen joins the RCM on 13 September. 


  • JohnofOz says:

    And the Australian National Academy of Music announces Paul Dean will take over from his brother Brett as Artisitc Director of ANAM. Paul has been Principal Clarinet with the Queensland Symphony, and is the Artistic Director of Brisbane based Southern Cross Soloists.