Two London orchestras change their leader

Two London orchestras change their leader


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2016

The London Symphony Orchestra have elected a new chairman, succeeding Lennox Mackenzie, who is stepping down after 16 years.

The new chief is Gareth Davies, 44, principal flute since 2000. Gareth will have a tough learning curve with Simon Rattle coming in as music director, equipped for the first time in LSO history with what is widely believed to be the right to hire and fire musicians and staff*. We wish Gareth well.

gareth davies

*UPDATE: An LSO source who has seen the contract has clarified that the right to hire and fire is not included. Rattle’s title and authority, however, are more powerful than any of his predecessors.

Meanwhile, at the London Mozart Players, Nicolas Soames has departed as interim manager. Julia Desbruslais, co-principal cello for the past 25 years, has stepped up as executive director.

And at the Philharmonia white smoke is awaited on a successor to chief exec David Whelton, who retires in April.


  • Alexander Hall says:

    David Whelton is not the Chief Executive of the Philharmonia Orchestra; he is still the Orchestra’s Managing Director. The position of Chief Executive is currently being advertised.

  • Amanda Wyatt says:

    Confusing to read about orchestra’s “leaders” being the managers – in the UK, the leader is what Americans call the concertmaster (principal first violin).

    • Ray Richardson says:

      N L knows this full well, but he just likes to wind people up. The respective leaders indeed remain in their seats.