ABO Conference takes place in-person and online from 9 – 11 February 2022 in Glasgow

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

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

On Wednesday 9 February, the 2022 Association of British Orchestras (ABO) Conference will open in Glasgow with leading figures in the classical music industry confirmed to attend. The UK’s leading classical music forum will take place in-person and online from Wednesday 09 February – Friday 11 February 2022 featuring speakers and panellists including social commentator Darren McGarveyAngus Robertson MSP, Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music at Southbank Centre, and Lord Mendoza, DCMS Commissioner for Cultural Recovery & Renewal.

Focusing on the theme of ‘Rebound’ as the economy begins to rebound from the worst of the pandemic, the conference looks 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. Through a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions the conference will look to the future with confidence as it examines 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.

Presented in partnership with the ABO’s Principal Media Partner Classic FM and Online Media Partner Classical Music, the recipients of the 2022 ABO/Classical Music Awards and ABO Award will also be announced by Classic FM presenter Myleene Klass.

Mark Pemberton, Director, Association of British Orchestras said: ‘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 following Glasgow’s hosting of 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 barriers 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.’

Classic FM – the UK’s most popular classical music station which celebrates its 30th birthday next year – returns to the Conference for its 20th year as Principal Media Partner. Other partners including Classical Music magazine as Digital Media Partner, Help Musicians as Charity Partner, and the British Council as International Partner. Hosted by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,the ABO will also be working with conference supporters BBC Radio 3British Association of Concert Halls (BACH)Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)Musicians’ Union and Orchestras Live.

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.

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.