London orchestra seeks new boss

London orchestra seeks new boss


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2014

Ian Maclay is leaving the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. That will save them £170,000 a year.

His successor will face tougher scrutiny.

Apply here.

ian maclay



  • William Boughton says:

    Not sure what you mean by ‘his successor will face tougher scrutiny’ – it’s a wonderfully vague, provocative and all encompassing comment, of which I would not expect anything less from you Norman! Ian has pulled the the RPO out of two financial messes in his lifetime and twice re-built it’s international profile. He will be missed by the musicians of the Orchestra, who must be feeling insecure and nervous about their future without him. I hope they manage to find as dedicated and passionate person as Ian.

    Thankyou for everything you have done for the RPO Ian, and I hope you have a long and happy retirement, if that’s what you’re leaving for!?

  • southlondoner says:

    Agree about the scrutiny comment, provocative and rather stupid.
    Mr Maclay deserves a long and happy retirement after his fantastic achievements at the RPO and elsewhere. SL

  • Simon Blendis says:

    I know you just want to provoke a response, Norman, but this suggestive and sneering post is wholly undeserved and deeply hurtful. Ian has saved the RPO not once but twice – two generations of the orchestra owe their livelihoods to his talents. I’m not sure what you are trying to suggest, but if you have something to publish, then let’s see it. If not, please let’s give Ian the respect and warm wishes for his future that he deserves.

  • Worried Observer says:

    Well said Norman!
    It is disgraceful that an Orchestral Manager can award himself £170K a year without scutiny in this day and age – particularly when the RPO are known for not always paying the playing musicians , particularly extra’s, the deserved going rate of pay for their services.
    Like any other London Orchestra, it’s high time The RPO management were accountable for their expenditure and answerable to their housekeeping like anyone else.

  • Peter says:

    @Worried Observer. Are you suggesting the RPO has not paid musicians the going MU rates? I find that extremely hard to believe and extremely unlikely. I note you use the word ‘deserved’. Is that your point? The fees should be higher?
    As for scrutiny, I would suggest that a London orchestra manager, who is technically employed by the players for whom he has to find/provide work, is possibly under a higher level of scrutiny than anyone.

  • southlondoner says:

    Worried Observer

    Wow. Where to start. What on earth makes you think that anyone in the upper management of any of the self governing orchestras (LSO, RPO, LPO, Philharmonia) can ‘award himself’ anything? It’s a neat but lazy assertion and complete nonsense I’m afraid. I am speaking from first hand experience of how these orchestras run themselves. The managing director’s remuneration is decided in confidence by the Board of Directors. I have no idea how Mr Maclay’s salary compares with his counterparts elsewhere, if it’s more then it’s because his Board thinks he is worth it. In case you don’t know, the managing director of a self run orchestra is employed by its players, several of whom sit on the Board so he or she is under greater scrutiny than you might expect, as Peter rightly says,

    Onto this: ‘the RPO are known for not always paying the playing musicians, particularly extra’s (sic) the deserved going rate of pay for their services’

    This one’s easy. Currently the RPO pays more per player (whether member or extra, principal or tutti) than almost all of its London rivals except when those orchestras are in their ‘home’ venue (RFH/Barbican) when a supplement is paid. Furthermore the RPO pays the same rate for the seat regardless of who sits there, unlike some others where a guest principal will earn significantly less than the principal he or she is depping for, or if that seat is vacant. Again, I have first hand knowledge of this. Do you? I could go on but you are hopefully getting the idea.

    Finally: ‘it’s high time the RPO management were accountable for their expenditure and answerable to their housekeeping like anyone else’

    Bit confused by your grammar, but just so you know, all the self governing orchestras’ accounts are available at Companies House for public scrutiny – the RPO is no exception. You could go take a look but I do realise that letting hard facts get in the way of a good whinge is a bit dull, so you carry on.

    Lazy outdated rubbish like this deserves a good slapping down, thanks (both) for giving me the opportunity.


  • Andrew says:

    Well done Ian Maclay…..!!!! He has been such a very devoted person to the RPO for so many years and saving them from bankruptcy twice before, and so dedicated to his orchestra and to their lives and has been the back bone of the orchesrra. We should be so grateful to him for saving this internationally renowned institution, As I have worked for the RPO, LPO and LSO, his management skills are second to none,