Forget artists. Agents are the new magazine cover stars

Forget artists. Agents are the new magazine cover stars


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2020

The is the cover of the latest issued of Auditorium, Sputh Korea’s excellent monthly music magazine (interest declared: they hold Korean rights to my monthly column).

On the cover is an array of present leaders of the classical  music business.

Guess who’s missing.


  • Nick Schleppend says:

    All the best and most respected artist managers.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The ONLY truly creative people in the business are the managers: only THEY define the art form and its meaning within the context of modern times, all the rest is merely filling-out their ideas, and plans, and profound insights. Thanks to them, standards have never been so high and accessibility to audiences never so broad. Until the 21st century, classical music was merely a poorly run amateur hobby. Now it finally has become a true profession, organized and defined by the only experts we can fully trust. Without them, music would sink into the depths of definite oblivion and disappear from human history. In fact, they are the saviors of serious music to whom we should be infinitely grateful.

    • Alf says:

      “Thanks to them, standards have never been so high“

      Oh dear… I can’t think of any aspect of classical music which can justify this statement.

  • Siegfried Bassoon says:

    Norman – perhaps you’d be good enough to provide us with the names of all the agents in the montage.

  • McGarrigle says:

    Suspect some money might have changed hands here.

  • Vorrei Spiegarvi says:

    Artist managers should be unseen and unheard.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The most famous and successful agent was, of course, [redacted] who ran the [redacted] agency from 1974 to 1998. The company really began to take-off when its employees discovered they worked best when they locked-up their director in the cellar. The ritual of catching him at 9 AM, forcing him down the stairs, feeding him his lunch at 1 PM and liberating him at 6 PM was a daily exercise they always much looked forward to.

  • Simon says:

    Imagine Ron Wilford posing for that idiotic thing. Never would’ve happened.

  • James says:

    Interesting that the most powerful manager, Jean Jacque Cesbron, is not shown. Manages Lang Lang, Chick Corea, Cameron Carpenter, Howard Shore and a handful of others across a wide market…

    • Nick2 says:

      Jean Jacques Cesbron, the CAMI agent who promised to make Lang Lang a world superstar? The one who cancelled a Lang Lang concert without even informing the promoter at any time? One of the only creative people? Time to drain the swamp!

  • sick of these parasites says:

    Why are these AH’s being exalted? They’re exactly what is wrong with this business. They don’t do s**t but collect money. They’re not responsible for anything remotely artistic. They’re responsible for female musicians wearing next to nothing in an effort to be noticed and other desperate musicians doing all kinds of embarrassing schtick on social media. What they are responsible for is the cheapening and vulgarizing of musical arts. Shut them all down.

  • Manager club says:

    Doug Sheldon is missing!
    He just reopened his management

  • Gidon says:

    meh, not sold on the way managers are in the business right now. Many of them basically glorified secretaries.

  • Fernandel says:

    An agent, to give a random example, is a person who forces one of his artists to accept sick at heart the position of Chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.