Julia Desbruslais, Executive Director of the London Mozart Players, will step down from her role at the end of 2021. Julia, who is also the orchestra’s co-principal cellist, has been with the orchestra since 1989 but took on the executive role in January 2016, after the players took over the running of the orchestra. The London Mozart Players would like to thank Julia for her dedication to the orchestra at a pivotal moment in the orchestra’s history as she brought a fresh dynamism to the role, steering the orchestra over six years through considerable transformation.

The LMP was formed in 1949 under Harry Blech to delight audiences with the music of Mozart and Haydn, but perhaps its most famous era was the under the baton of Jane Glover in the 1980s. Like many other ensembles, the orchestra has undergone mixed fortunes over the past year and it is testament to Julia’s passion and dedication that this year, LMP celebrated its 72nd birthday as a vibrant, innovative and community focused ensemble that continues to push boundaries and reinvent itself for the new musical landscape.

Under Julia’s direction, the LMP, Croydon’s resident orchestra, has seen the reopening of its newly-refurbished Fairfield Halls and has taken its loss of funding in its stride. The orchestra has embedded itself in the vibrant and diverse community around the Church of St John the Evangelist in Upper Norwood, putting on concerts in new and unusual venues around the borough and launching a new concert series that attracted stars such as Nicola Benedetti and Sheku Kanneh-Mason to SE19. During lockdown, LMP pioneered the digital space with experimental performances, creating unique content that was engaging and informative.

In addition to concerts in high profile venues in London and around the UK (as well as in Europe, Dubai and Hong Kong), the orchestra has stayed true to its long traditions and continues to champion fledgling musicians, to inspire young people through its extensive education programme, and to be a ‘go-to’ orchestra for choirs and festivals.

Julia Desbruslais commented:
“When I took over the running of the LMP I gave myself five years to turn things around, but that deadline coincided with the arrival of the pandemic and so I have stayed a little longer than I planned. It’s now time to step back and let the orchestra fly without me. I am so fortunate that I have been surrounded by incredible people in the management team and inspirational musicians in the orchestra who have supported me throughout this roller-coaster ride and helped us to keep our music playing. The pandemic released this amazing creativity from within the LMP which has helped the orchestra to reinvent itself for the twenty-first century, kept it relevant and demonstrated how powerful we can be when we all work together. It has been wonderful to be part of such a giving team – from Management and Trustees to the LMP musicians – where there is so much mutual respect.

Reflecting on all that has been achieved over the past few years, I am certain that we are in now in a really strong position to plan for the future, and this is the right time for me to step back and allow some fresh thinking to take LMP to the next stage. I have loved this orchestra with a real passion and it has absorbed almost every fibre of my being, but I know it is time to remind my family what I look like and for there to be time for thoughts that don’t begin with ‘What opportunity can we find in this situation that will allow the LMP to flourish!'”

Neville Osrin, Chairman of the LMP Orchestra said:
Cometh the hour, cometh the woman! Julia was exactly the right person to take over the LMP in 2016. In 2014 when the players took over the orchestra there were just 13 dates in the diary. By the beginning of 2020 it was up to 180. She has done the most tremendous job in reinventing and revitalising this wonderful ensemble. Not only has she worked incredibly hard herself, but her leadership and vision have brought out the best in the entire team. All this while brilliantly walking the tightrope between Executive Director and player – always with great diplomacy and empathy. But perhaps Julia’s most lasting legacy will be that collaboration, empowerment, innovation and a total commitment to excellence are now firmly embedded in the DNA of the orchestra.”

Chairman of the LMP Trust Nick Mallet said:
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Julia in our complementary roles. My background in the legal profession meant that Julia and I approached issues with a very different perspective, but Julia’s ability to grasp my point of view, and to explain hers, has been a priceless asset. I am unmatched in my admiration of Julia and her talents, but I am not alone in having been surprised and sometimes concerned about the extent of her devotion to duty. While being grateful for all she has done, and aware of the difficulty of finding a suitable successor, I join with everyone in the LMP Trust in wishing Julia all the very best for the years ahead.”

A new appointment will be announced in due course. Julia will remain in her role until the end of 2021, ahead of a handover to her successor.