A third artists agency is bailed out by Arts Council

A third artists agency is bailed out by Arts Council


norman lebrecht

October 17, 2020

In the latest round of Culture Recovery Fund grants – carefully buried at the weekend, Groves Artists Ltd – managers of Sir Mark Elder, Graham Vick and Mark Wigglesworth – is to receive £50,000.

That’s in addition to Intermusica and IMG Artists.

Your views?


Other grants:
Kings Place London – £562,000
Britten Sinfonia, Cambridge – £197,810
Paraorchestra, Bristol – £156,000
Military Wives Choir, London – £92,057
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, – £50,000;

Berkshire Maestros, Reading – £783,746 will ensure Berkshire Maestros can continue to deliver music lessons and projects for as many young people as possible across the county through a mixture of online and face-to-face teaching.

Future DJs, Knutsford – £175,000 will enable Future DJs to build on its existing work with schools and introduce virtual classrooms to work with music teachers to build in-school remote teaching programmes and run artist masterclasses.


  • GG says:

    Gossip girl here, your one and only source in to the scandalous lives of the agency elite.

    ….spotted on the steps of the Met, Jonathan Groves and Stephen Lumsden fighting over their relationship with the Wigglesworths…

    And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me. XOXO Norman Lebrecht,

    SHIT, I mean….. Gossip Girl.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Might be worth asking ACE and DCMS what criteria they applied to dole out taxpayer’s money to organisations. Also how much was allocated to actually re-open and restart actual performance spaces as distinct from supporting those who manage the organisations as distinct from the people who actually perform something that we, the audience, can physically experience. Where I live there is still no cultural activity open to the public despite significant assistance from the bailout fund and the one that has indicated that it will start live performances this month did so before it was awarded any money. The main beneficiary of ACE grant and Covid money in my home city continues to show no sign of any activity and therefore one can only assume that it is the administrative team that are being bailed out rather than the ordinary staff and the actors who we previously paid to see actually perform.

  • Alex Walsh says:

    A good title for debate would be, ‘Why is 90% of the workforce of artist agencies female?’

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Are the Military Wives amateurs?

    • Ellie says:

      Yes and no – they’re a professionally run charity of 70+ choirs made up of women who are connected to the armed forces. They’ve made cds and do concerts around the uk but it’s also music based support system for them, so in my eyes 100% deserving of this funding

  • Michael B. says:

    In my opinion, it would greatly benefit classical music if 95% of these “agents” went bankrupt. Although there a few (far too few) honorable exceptions, most of them are greasy, sleazy parasites whose only interest in classical music is how much money they can get from it. They have jacked up performance fees for so-called “superstars” to the point where the orchestras or other presenting organizations paying the fees will at best break even; the “superstars” then show up and mail in a performance of a warhorse that they must have played 500 times. The depredations of those “agents” have led to serious financial disruption for many orchestras and other presenting organization at a time when government support is diminishing, revenue from recordings has drastically been reduced, and audiences were aging and becoming less likely to attend (all before the pandemic).

    • Alexander Hall says:

      Michael, I agree with you. However, just look at the number of dislikes you have garnered. The same thing happened to me some weeks back when I made a critical comment on this site about the usefulness of agents in general, pointing out that many conductors choose to negotiate without any intermediaries. This has made me think that there is something tantamount to a mafia working closely together to protect vital interests. There are clearly many readers here who think that agents are absolute lynchpins in the entire business who deserve every penny and more that they can get. Look at the average earnings of rank-and-file orchestral musicians and then examine the kind of commissions agents rake in. Notice anything?

    • Lawrence Kershaw says:

      Michael, as an agent since 1985, I have to tell you that your post is 100% correct. Some of us have been saying as such for several years but I fear that the issues are now engrained within the industry. Sadly, performing organisations are now in thrall to the larger and powerful agencies and their thinking and choice of artists is largely out of their hands. Of course, it’s a cumulative thing because if the public is presented continually with the same performers then they eventually believe they’re getting the ‘best’. So, very good artists are overlooked and less good ones promoted way beyond their capabilities. I give the industry 25 years at tops before it simply disappears.

  • Don Pasquale says:

    Good. Agencies are vital to the arts scene.

  • J Morris Jones says:

    Interesting to see that Berkshire Maestros music service has been given support: you’d hope that this might also go on apply to other such services providing music tuition and opportunities for young people, since some were already sadly diminished by cuts even before Covid.

  • James says:

    BOYCOTT IMG Artists and its artists!!!!
    Wait, I don’t understand, how the owner of IMG Artists the convicted criminal Barrett Wissman went from running a lawn-care company to orchestrating a $100 million scheme that saw him standing in the cross hairs of the SEC, then representing some of the world’s leading artists.

    Barrett Wissman: who on his website, calls himself a ‘’Renaissance Man,’’ has been described by his rabbi who apparently has said he’s a great guy. While his godmother, on the other hand, says he’s a liar and a cheat. Who would you believe?

    Why did IMG Artists receive this funding?
    Both its owners, Wissman is a millionaire, while his Russian partner a billinaire. I believe Wissman fortune and net worth currently stands at 50 – 60 million USD. While his partner, the Russian robber baron, Alex Shustorovich is A BILLIONAIRE.
    And they are asking the UK taxpayers to bail them out. Who is helping the other UK based music agencies and their represented?

  • Andrew Hogbin says:

    I must say that I find these bailouts a little odd considering there are practically no performances even vaguely on the horizon. I think a major cultural shift is underway here and certainly subsidized music is going to look very different over the next decades.

  • Music Fan says:

    Absolutely nothing wrong with this. Hope it helps keep staff employed, given their revenue will be well down due to not making commission from their clients.
    I really don’t get why this is all viewed as a negative by some!

  • Realist says:

    Pretty sure you are mixing up Mark and Ryan Wigglesworth, and also have missed that Ikon Arts Management received money in this second round.

    It really doesn’t bother me that arts management companies are getting backing. In fact they are often the people who get things going as it’s in their interest to push for work to be happening, obviously. So bravo Uk government for supporting their work!