Agency moves: Two ex-IMG men link arms

Agency moves: Two ex-IMG men link arms


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2015

Stephen Wright, a co-founder of IMG Artists, now owns ICA Artists (which used to be Van Walsum).

With me so far?

Stephen needs help at the top so he has hired Ian Smallbone, who set up the ill-fated Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra before joining the IMG exodus in 2013.

Like White Russians driving cabs in 1920s Paris, the music world is thronged with IMG refugees.

white russian cab paris

Trade announcement:


I am pleased to announce that, with effect from 13 April, Ian Smallbone will be joining me as Co-Chairman of International Classical Artists. Ian and I have a close working relationship that goes back over 25 years – from when he joined me at Harold Holt in the late 1980s, through my years at IMG Artists – and in particular, collaborating together on a major five-year project to advise PETRONAS on the creation of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the opening and running of its new concert hall in Kuala Lumpur.


At ICA, apart from sharing the chairmanship and oversight of the company’s activities,  Ian will concentrate on a range of developments, including the areas of Orchestral Touring & Projects, and ICA’s expanding role in Asia.  I will continue my direct, and personal, involvement as before with the company’s individual artist roster, and together, Ian and I will also be working to expand and enhance the opportunities available to our artists around the world.




  • Nick says:

    Just for clarification, Stephen Wright was not a co-founder of IMG Artists. These were Edna Landau and Charles Hamlen in New York whose company was taken over by IMG in the mid-1980s. IMG Artists soon established a presence in London. Eventually it wanted to increase that presence and a deal for a complete take-over of/union with Harold Holt was in the works. At the last moment that broke down, I understand, leaving much of Harold Holt intact but with Stephen Wright taking his orchestral touring division and some conductors over to IMG Artists.

    Holts of course eventually merged with the Lies Askonas office and the union continues to thrive. IMGA’s fate seems far less rosy.