Good catch for the Scots

Good catch for the Scots


norman lebrecht

May 04, 2011

That estimable orchestra of the north, The Royal Scottish National – sounds like a railways train, I know, but they’re rubbish at branding up there – anyhow, the RSNO have a new boss, and he’s a good’un.

Michael Elliot his name is, Mick to his Merseyside muckers. He’s the chap that dragged the Royal Liverpool Phil out of the do-dos a few years back. In 2008 he got poached to be Head of Kulcher at the department of culture, media and sports, a very big job indeed and closer than most orchy types ever get in their wettest dreams to the seat of power.

But Mick’s had enough of London and its wicked fleshpots and he’s moving up to Glasgow for a touch of authentic austerity.

Or is that, perhaps, what he’s running away from?

Director of Culture was a good job under the last government, not so good at the moment when you have to say No to all you old chums.

Mick’s a very good catch for the Scots, but I wonder if the real deal for his is getting away from a government with which he has no evident sympathy at all. I’m sure the Scots Nationalists would like to know that.


Here’s the press release:

Michael Elliott appointed new RSNO Chief Executive


The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) announces the appointment of Michael Elliott as its new Chief Executive.


Mr Elliott has been Director of Culture at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in London since June 2008 and was formerly Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. He will take up the position with Scotland’s national symphony orchestra on Monday 1 August 2011, succeeding Simon Woods, who assumed his new role as Executive Director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in April.


RSNO Chairman Brian Lang led the Search Committee: “It is with great pleasure that we announce Michael’s appointment. His experience and knowledge of orchestra management and the wider cultural sector will be of great benefit to the RSNO. Michael will join the team in good time for the start of Stéphane Denève’s final season as Music Director and will have the pleasure of working with incoming Music Director Peter Oundjian, creating a formidable partnership.  Together they will deliver artistic excellence for the people of Scotland.”


New RSNO Chief Executive Michael Elliott: “I am delighted to accept the post of Chief Executive of an organisation of such musical stature and heritage.  It is my aim to build on the recent successes of the musicians and staff under the leadership of Simon Woods and Stéphane Denève and to see the RSNO playing a key role in Scottish society, cultural life and education, and in the promotion of Scotland to the benefit of its trade, tourism and economy.”

In 2001 Mr Elliott was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, driving the organisation’s artistic and financial recovery and contributing to Liverpool winning European Capital of Culture for 2008. In 2006 he was seconded to the role of Associate Cultural Director for Liverpool Culture Company, leading the partnership of Liverpool’s major cultural institutions which was successful in gaining significant additional national investment for the City.

His current post at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport involved senior responsibility for government policy, funding and relationships across the arts, museums, libraries, cultural property, heritage, architecture and design, royal parks and the Government Art Collection.

Mr Elliott currently also serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors at the University of Wolverhampton and has previously served as Chairman of the Belgrade Theatre Trust and Deputy Chairman of the Sheffield Crucible Theatre Trust. He also served as a governor and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.


Mr Elliott is a graduate of the University of Sheffield and has a son, Peter, and a daughter, Chrissie, with his wife, June.



  • Brian Hughes says:

    I don’t understand why you Brits have a Department for Culture, Media and Sport. These entities seem rather incongruous to me. Culture and Sport? And these have what in common?