Breaking: Top London orchestra loses its boss

Breaking: Top London orchestra loses its boss


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2022

The Philharmonia Orchestra this morning parted company with its chief executive, Alexander Van Ingen.

He’s the second manager to go in as many years, and just when the orchestra is sounding great with music director Santtu-Matias Rouvali.

The Philharmonia is having a brilliant season, selling out the Royal Festival Hall and resuming its concerts in Europe.

But nerves are frayed and the board appears suddenly to have lost its.

Managing a London orchestra is not a job for the faint-hearted.

UPDATE: Kate Collis, Chief Operating Officer, has taken over as interim Chief Executive while the board conducts a successor search.


  • Frank says:

    I don’t see there’s anything particularly hard about managing an orchestra, in London or elsewhere. If the people that are appointed to management roles can’t cope then they shouldn’t be in them.

    • IC225 says:

      Wow. Go on then, tell us how it’s done: how you run an business at break-even or surplus when you’re unable to sell your core product at anything like cost price, have little or no scope for reducing overheads and can have your operations suspended indefinitely, at no notice, at any time. If you’ve cracked that, you have a public duty to share your evident expertise.

    • Will says:

      The uniquely difficult thing here is that the Orchestra themselves have such a huge role in decision-making, making any CEO’s life pretty tricky.

      • Michael says:

        In this case it is understood that the orchestra’s ability to make decisions has actually saved the organisation from unsuitable management. Read between the lines-has anyone reported whether he has another job lined up?

    • You speak from experience?

  • drummerman says:

    Managing an orchestra in the US is also not a job for the faint hearted!!

  • Harald Fleischmann says:

    What are the details?

  • KBS says:

    The Philharmonia is a sinking ship and not a patch on the great orchestra of the 1990’s. They have barely any concerts in London and tours cancelled. They have almost been silent in January and have very little work in March now that their Japan tour is off. As the orchestra players are self employed you can see their players working everywhere else in London, even at the opera houses where huge periods of tied work would not have been possible in the days when the orchestra was busy. A change at the top can only be a good thing.

  • ex says:

    There are far easier orchestras to run than the Philharmonia. Fantastic players but the management side is a mess and has been for years, it’s not just the pandemic. Speaking from personal experience. It’s sad to see.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Some insight into whose nerves in particular are frayed, and for what reason, would be helpful to understand the situation.

  • Backrowbass says:

    Did we ever find out why they cancelled their upcoming Cardiff concert, as reported on this site a couple of weeks ago?

    • Robin Smith says:

      I’m guessing it’s something to do with the rules regarding the virus in Wales at the time of the concert – more stringent than in England.