Just in: Shaky Philharmonia name new boss

Just in: Shaky Philharmonia name new boss


norman lebrecht

March 11, 2020

London’s Philharmonia Ochestra, whose last CEO lasted under 3 years, has named Alexander Van Ingen as the next, starting in September.

Van Ingen is presently head of the Cambridge-based Academy of Ancient Music, which he joined from Decca Classics in 2017.


  • Mikel Toms says:

    Congratulations, Alex!

  • voiceleader says:

    Huge congrats Alex… wonderful orchestra – have fun.

  • Anon says:

    Ah great. Another suit to run an orchestra.

    • Appleby says:

      What should he be wearing? And who should be running orchestras? Back desk second violinists?

      • Anon2 says:

        I think ‘suit’ here is shorthand for ‘its an as expected middle-class middle-aged white man who isn’t going to bring the change needed to the orchestra’

        • Patrick Gillot says:

          What is the problem about having a white person managing an orchestra in the UK. As far as I remember the UK are still mostly white? What kind of “problems” the Philharmonia has? I can only remember wonderful concerts.

      • Christopher Clift says:

        In SOME self-governing orchestras, very often the managing committee DOES contain back desk string players – sitting at the back of a section in say the LSO, Philharmonia, Berlin Philharmonic, does NOT presume that those players are any less capable of management than players from the front of the section.

    • Sean Bishop says:

      Anyone that has met Ingen will know he is more than capable of this job and really a 1st rate choice!!

  • Anon says:

    God help the Philharmonia…apparently AAM cannot wait for him to leave.

    • Alexander Hall says:

      Well, they said the same about the LPO and Tim Walker on this very website. What does that prove? You can always make the headlines by badmouthing somebody. Also never forget that you cannot please all the people all the time. And Walter Legge never got to run one of the world’s greatest orchestras by being nice to everybody.

      • Anon says:

        It’s not all about being the ‘greatest’
        That’s where you SO miss the point. It’s also about creating positive experiences and respecting people as well as being capable of the job you are hired for with prior experience in that role OR the emotional intelligence to be open to common sense and other, more experienced people’s advice.
        I don’t believe that there has been much of any of the above in this particular situation.

        • Alexander Hall says:

          Well, it’s instructive that in addition to hiding behind anonymity you offer absolutely no evidence whatsoever that “the AAM cannot wait for him to leave”. If you wish to indulge in character assassination because that is the kind of person you are, so be it. No human being on this planet is perfect, but to damn someone before they have even had the chance of proving themselves shows mean-spiritedness of the worst possible kind.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Yes, I thought the Philharmonia was self-governing, so wouldn’t the CEO be answerable to the players’ “board of directors”?

    I’ve always found it odd that in Europe there are many self-governing orchestras but in “democratic” America NONE of the major orchestras are built on that model…..

    • Alexander Hall says:

      That’s not so strange. American orchestras are largely funded by rich donors who get to pull all the strings, determine the content of programmes and exercise undue influence on the way things are run. These wealthy individuals would never countenance anything as democratic as a players’ cooperative running the show.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Actually, Europe is much more democratic than the US in many of its institutions, and not just orchestras. Europe just doesn’t have a social hierarchy based on money and wealth in which the rich buy themselves privileges while expecting the poor to fawn and know their place (and constructing an ideology in which being poor is some kind of failure).

  • Andrew says:

    Oh Dear! How has this man got into this position? A background as a recording engineer and amateur Cellist. AAM must be sighing with relief! I do hope that the Philharmonia don’t expect to be looked after and their player rights protected. Good luck with him.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Since he is the employee of the orchestra musicians, it seems unlikely he will be able to attack their employment rights.

  • christopher storey says:

    To Andrew : It’s a shame ( but unsurprising I suppose ) that you are so cowardly that you cannot reveal your full name. By all means criticise, but at least have the decency to own up to who you are

    • Andrew says:

      I believe that you have had record dealings with the man and I don’t doubt he is a good sound engineer but running an orchestra requires a huge amount of empathy for both players, management and those lovely people who attend the concerts. It is generally held that he has few of these qualities..

      • Anon says:

        Agreed. He’s a glorified number cruncher. Has taken a massive salary himself and has exploited and bled everyone else dry and caused a lot of unnecessary misery with his bungled ‘micro management’