BSO Chief Executive Dougie Scarfe ©Corin Messer

  • Scarfe’s 30-year career has spanned both performance and leadership roles, in which he has spearheaded change at some of the UK’s foremost arts organisations, including Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Opera North
  • Earlier this year, he received the ABO/Classical Music Orchestra Manager of the Year award for his ongoing efforts to improve inclusion and accessibility in classical music, and in particular his commitment to disabled musicians and livestreamed technology.
  • A vociferous champion in music education, Scarfe is known for directing youth ensembles, including the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra, and for his role as a founder of Yorkshire Young Musicians (YYM). He is also a Board Director of The Arts Development Company and a former Trustee of Manchester Collective.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Executive, Dougie Scarfe, has been recognised with an OBE for Services to the Arts in His Majesty King Charles III’s inaugural Birthday Honours list.

Having held senior roles as both administrator, educator and performer in a career spanning over three decades, Scarfe is currently Chief Executive at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, where he’s been credited with leading transformational change since 2012. He was formerly Chorus & Orchestra Director and Concerts Director at Opera North, where he began his career as a professional horn player.

A passionate advocate for culture, Scarfe’s ongoing efforts to improve access and inclusion in classical music has been widely praised. His work in improving outcomes for disabled musicians — from the creation of the world’s first disabled-led ensemble at the core of a major symphony orchestra, BSO Resound, to the commissioning of new music for inclusive forces — has been regarded as a world-leading approach for the sector.

His continued commitment to the BSO’s livestreamed performances, which provide a lifeline for isolated and rural communities in the Orchestra’s territory in the south-west of England, has also received acclaim.  It is estimated that over 117,000 people have accessed the BSO’s livestreamed concerts across the world since the first series in 2020.

Scarfe has remained dedicated to music education throughout his career, from conducting youth groups to teaching at a range of levels. Alongside his role in founding Yorkshire Young Musicians (YYM), a talent development organisation for exceptional young performers, his conducting commitments have included 18 years as Principal Conductor of the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra, through which he has inspired generations of young performers. He is also an Advisor for PRSSV, a global music and dance examination board.

Scarfe is a Board Director of The Arts Development Company and a former Trustee of Manchester Collective. In 2019, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), for Services to Music.

Chair of Bournemouth Symphony OrchestraAndrew Flockhart, said: “On behalf of the BSO, I would like to congratulate Dougie on receiving this honour from His Majesty the King. Dougie’s huge and unique contribution to the arts and classical music is a joy to behold. Creating opportunities over decades, as he has, for people from all walks of life to enjoy the gifts of music is something very special indeed. We are delighted this has been recognised.”

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Chief ExecutiveDougie Scarfe, said: “All I have ever wanted is for others to have the chance to experience the life-enhancing impact of music and culture. Never has it been more important to bring joy to people, and, at a time when our sector faces such huge challenges, this incredible honour gives such a boost for the battles ahead. Throughout my career I have been lucky to work with the most extraordinary people, and this honour is really also for them”.