London orchestra signs with pop agency

London orchestra signs with pop agency


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2016

The London Philharmonic has inked a deal with Sunshine, a London-LA agency that ‘transforms businesses through the power of entertainment and culture.’

The plan is to take the LPO ‘further into pop culture on a global scale’ by ‘introducing it to new audiences and showcasing the transformative power of orchestral music.’


Not Ibbs & Tillett, then.




  • Halldor says:

    Well done them, and I hope it succeeds. I can already imagine the sarcasm here from the armchair orchestra managers and “holiest of arts” brigades: basically, people who’ve never been responsible for the livelihoods of 100-odd musicians and staff with families and mortgages. Folks: this is what pays for all the Penderecki and Turnage, to say nothing of the fees charged by the Barenboims and Argerichs of this world. If that troubles you, feel free to avert your delicate eyes.

    • John Borstlap says:

      A very nice sample of populist writing, to be taken-up with pincers by future cultural anthropologists who try to understand why in the wealthy West, people tried their very best to destroy their own culture.

      The only way to preserve classical music as an authentic art form is: 1) structural subsidies from the state to ensure the existence of cultural institutions and 2) educational programs on all levels to make the art form accessible to new audiences. All other attempts are doomed to fail: it’s not for the masses, but for the people (young or old) who happen to be sensitive to it. In general, there are enough of them to ensure the art form’s survival, they simply have to be brought in contact with it. Unnecessary to try to convert people, insensitive to classical music, to something they cannot identify with.

      Interesting detail:

      “Folks: this is what pays for all the Penderecki and Turnage, to say nothing of the fees charged by the Barenboims and Argerichs of this world.” Implied is, that indigestable new music will simply cost money because audiences won’t stomach it – i.e. their names on the programs will decrease ticket sales – and that the ‘classical star performers’ are overpaid. Both critiques, which are entirely different in nature, are justified, but are unrelated to the attempt to get some pop agency involved. The occasion is taken as an opportunity to vent the typical hatred of high art.

    • Alvaro says:

      Oh, but you said it best. Its not abt the music, its not about art, not even about quality: its about having a job for the 100+ people working in these institutions.

      If playing Lady Gaga and Jay Z pays the bills: SO BE IT!!

      The corrupt “education” system with hundreds of conservatories produces an oversupply of musicians needing employment. The result? Broken orchestras that need to play Reggaeton at the Symphony to try to end the year in black numbers.

      First new album of LPO, “Menealo” or “Shake that Bootie”.

      Congratulations guys, you really did it!

  • Maria Brewin says:

    Always in favour of new ideas.

    They could call it something like “Classic Rock”, or perhaps a catchy “Hooked on Classics”.

    Hang on …

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve got this wheel. Wondered if you could do anything with it?

      • John Borstlap says:

        The wheel has a long history, and the first results of the attempts at quicker mobility were square. In spite of practical difficulties, it was patiently applied to the first carts, and over time the corners worn-off, arriving at a nice round form. But at regular moments in history, people re-invented it and began again with the square original model. And so on.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Perhaps since they have done a good deal of pop oriented recordings over the years, e.g. Keith Emerson’s Concerto and Neil Sedaka’s ‘classical crossover’ orchestral recordings with the assistance of arranger Lee Holdridge. This might place the LPO in a niche for such future projects in recordings and performances. The ‘pop’ agency might be very ‘instrumental’ for their future endeavors.

    • John Borstlap says:

      If an orchestra can make some money through such projects, so that their serious concerts are thriving, it is not a bad idea. Publishers throw lots of mass consumer stuff into the market to keep their literature and poetry series intact. But it is very unlikely that such productions increase a serious audience.

      • Jeffrey Biegel says:

        In addition to artists I mention, I have Moody Blues LPs of their orchestral works recorded by the London Philharmonic. I might send them a message about Jimmy Webb’s new composition for piano and orchestra awaiting its premiere this season. Will be interesting to see where this road takes the LPO.

  • Ben Conover says:

    Andre Rieu……is absolute tosh…..even his most ardent German granny fans know it deep down, so why do otherwise culturally significant entities like LPO sell their souls to off shore ventures ? Because they can’t pay their ever increasing rents.
    I’d rather listen to some golden age black sea Qt recordings anyway.

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    Whatever became of David St. Hubbins’s desire to do a collection of his acoustical numbers with the London Phil? Maybe now is the time.

  • NIck says:

    It’s only around 6 weeks ago that this blog featured an interview with Ian Maclay on his leaving the LPO. He made the point very forcibly that the orchestra was on the point of bankruptcy when he took over. Partly thanks to the few sessions devoted to the “Hooked on Classics” series and the royalties from well over 10 million sales, he completely turned around the orchestra’s finances.

  • David Osborne says:

    First thing to point out is that agents book gigs, it’s management and publicists that devise marketing strategies. This ones sounds like they book acts for the corporate function circuit:
    “a London-LA agency that ‘transforms businesses through the power of entertainment and culture.'”
    I’ve been there, it is hard to imagine a less rewarding, more soul destroying environment in which to perform than that.

  • Sebastien Chonion says:

    Great news and congrats to LPO, the one and only really versatile orchestra in London! There is nothing the LPO hasn’t done yet and now there is more to come. A smart way to go!

    • Allen says:

      I’m not knocking the LPO but what, precisely, will it be doing that hasn’t been done before? Seems to me that all of them, and the LSO and RPO in particular, have been doing a fair amount of non-classical work from Jon Lord in the 1960s onwards.

      Information on this project seems to be very thin so far.

    • Fiona Higham says:

      Survival is what it’s all about in these days of increasing ‘austerity’ for the arts and philistine politicians

  • Una says:

    Fab, creative business planning and seeing into the future. Old business models are no use for 2017 and beyond for and jobs.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed, if only orchestras would leave the idea of classical music behind, they would be saved. The same with dance companies: just stop dancing and you will have a job. And opera houses: if they finally would stop producing operas and do musicals and modernist stuff, they would survive. Asking about the miracle cure? It’s trumpism – life is so much more simple than before.