‘Rebound’ – Association of British Orchestras Announces Conference 9 – 11 February 2022

·        ABO Conference will take place in-person and online from 9 – 11 February 2022 in Glasgow

·        Classic FM will return for the 20th year as Principal Media Partner

·        Additional partnerships include Classical Music magazine, Help Musicians, and British Council together with conference supporters British Association of Concert Halls, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians’ Union and Orchestras Live

·        ABO conference will focus on the theme of ‘Rebound’ looking to the future with confidence through a blend of debates, workshops, networking, and music

·        The conference will be a unique hybrid event with exclusive content featured separately online and in-person

·        A concert from the joint forces of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will be broadcast live BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds on 9 February

·        The event will also see the presentation of the long-standing ABO/Classical Music Awards presented in partnership with the ABO’s Online Media Partner Classical Music, alongside the annual ABO Award

Announced today (Tuesday 30 November 2021), the annual Association of British Orchestras (ABO) Conference, the UK’s leading classical music forum, will take place in-person and online from Wednesday 09 February – Friday 11 February 2022 in Glasgow hosted by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Following the success of the digital conference in 2021, the ABO makes a welcome return to gathering in-person in February 2022 where Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station which celebrates its 30th birthday next year, returns for its 20th year as Principal Media Partner. With other partners including Classical Music magazine as Digital Media Partner, Help Musicians as Charity Partner, and the British Council as International Partner, the conference will bring together speakers, panellists and delegates from across the UK and abroad to examine the critical issues facing the classical music sector and to discuss the support and innovation needed to forge an ambitious and sustainable future for the industry. The ABO will also be working with conference supporters British Association of Concert Halls (BACH)Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)Musicians’ Union and Orchestras Live.

Through a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions the conference will look to the future with confidence as it focuses on the theme of ‘Rebound’. As the economy begins to rebound from the worst of the pandemic, it is time to look at whether the same applies to the classical music sector and how British orchestras and other partners within the industry can work to come back stronger than ever with positive actions towards improving inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.

Amongst the speakers, Angus Robertson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture will give a keynote speech, while author, musician, and social commentator Darren McGarvey, will discuss the influence of class in the Arts and together with Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music at Southbank Centre, looking at the struggles of working-class musicians in a seemingly affluent sector. The conference’s closing keynote speech will be given by Courtney Harge, CEO for OF/BY/FOR ALL and will look at practical ways to engage with bias, oppression, and prejudice and how the obsession with excellence limits our potential.

The question of how much digital offering orchestras should retain in both performance and in Learning & Participation rises to the fore following the return to live events after the pandemic; the fall-out from Brexit; the continued importance of inclusivity and diversity; and the impact of the COP26 Conference on the sector are amongst the many other topics that will be discussed with speakers including: James Ainscough, Chief Executive, Help Musicians; Claire Mera-Nelson, Director, Music, Arts Council England; Lord Mendoza, DCMS Commissioner for Cultural Recovery & Renewal; Iain Munro, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland; Phil George, Chair, Art Council of Wales; and Cathy Graham OBE, Director of Music, British Council.

On Wednesday 9 February, a concert will be given at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall performed by members of the BBC Scottish Symphony and Royal Scottish National Orchestras under the baton of Kevin John Edusei. This concert is presented in association with the Association of British Orchestras and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds featuring music by Dimitry Shostakovich, John Adams and the Scottish Premiere of Elysium by Samy Moussa.

Mark Pemberton, Director, Association of British Orchestras said: ‘Rebound: it is the word of the moment. As the UK Government proclaims a rebound to the economy from the worst of the pandemic, it is time to look at whether the same applies to our sector. Are we going to see a boost to our business and resilience? Can we break through the barriers of Brexit? What will stick from the shift to digital? And after Glasgow hosts COP26, how do we become more sustainable? But we need to keep our focus on the issue of diversity too. With funding agencies putting inclusivity at the heart of their decision-making, we will take a look at the systemic challenges for our sector, from socio-economic to disability and gender. With a host of headline speakers, panels and moderated conversations, it’s time to join the debate, in-person and online.’

Philip Noyce, Managing Editor of Classic FM said: ‘As the UK’s most popular classical music station, we’re very proud to have supported the Association of British Orchestras for two decades now. The 2022 conference offers an inspiring range of sessions and discussions and we’re thrilled that, once again, Classic FM is Principal Media Partner. Together with our live broadcasts and concert streams on our Facebook and YouTube channels, Classic FM continues to make classical music accessible and relevant to everyone and to support the vital work that the ABO and its members do for the UK’s musical landscape.’

Nominations for the long-standing ABO/Classical Music Awards presented in partnership with the ABO’s Online Media Partner Classical Music are open until 10 December 2021 with the winners announced at the conference alongside the annual ABO Award. An opportunity to champion those who work tirelessly behind the scenes, ABO members are encouraged to nominate colleagues who have gone above and beyond to bring music to audiences and into our communities.

The ABO Conference is open to members and non-members. For further information on the schedule and how to purchase online tickets, visit www.abo.org.uk.