Growing alliance will unite two of the world’s leading artist management companies with a premiere conservatory and its record label, Pentatone

BERLIN, DE; LONDON, UK; NEW YORK, NY; SAN FRANCISCO, CA—December 9, 2022—The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is acquiring leading arts management company Askonas Holt and welcoming the firm to its existing alliance with artist management company Opus 3 Artists and classical music label Pentatone. 

SFCM, a non-profit, leads the alliance, which spans the classical music sector. Partner organizations share a common mission to increase the impact of music in the world and change the nature of how students, artists, clients, staff, and patrons interact with one another—while each continues to operate autonomously. 

Askonas Holt Chief Executive Donagh Collins will serve as chief executive overseeing both management companies. As chief executive, Collins will be a member of the Business and Corporate Alliances Committee of the SFCM Board of Trustees. 

SFCM President David Stull serves as chairman of the alliance and directs a joint leadership team charged with providing resources for collaboration, creative production, and the sustenance of healthy economic models. Robert Berretta remains managing director at Opus 3 Artists, alongside Chief Operating Officer Ben MaiminSean Hickey continues his role as managing director of Pentatone.

“The concept of growing this alliance emerged from the leadership at Opus 3 and blossomed into a shared vision through many conversations with our brilliant colleagues at Askonas Holt. The sheer talent and power of this new quartet of friends and partners promises to advance the cause of music at the highest level across the globe. It will create limitless opportunities for students, provide a creative playground for the world’s finest artists to advance their ideas, expand our capacity to capture and record important work, and allow us all to imagine and create our future together. I am thrilled to welcome Donagh and his colleagues to the team and look forward to many adventures ahead,” said Stull.

“Askonas Holt has never stood still,” said Collins. “From our roots as an impresario nearly 150 years ago, we always strive for new opportunities and the representation of top-tier talent, leading to the successful company we celebrate today. We have an incredible team, whose tireless dedication to their work inspires me as they serve their artists and clients. Under the umbrella of SFCM, with their impressive resources and expertise, we have clear ambitions which will benefit artists and staff as we develop more touring, presenting, and producing initiatives. It gives us increased excitement about our future. I am thrilled to embark on this new journey and look forward to working with David and his team at SFCM, the team at Pentatone, and alongside my new colleagues at Opus 3 Artists in New York and in Berlin.” 

Enabled by private support, SFCM acquired New York- and Berlin-based Opus 3 Artists in October 2020 and Netherlands-based Pentatone in May 2022. In the time since, the alliance yielded several artist residency engagements and recordings, as well as a new Artist Apprentice Program.

The addition of Askonas Holt will expand the network’s geographical footprint, artist reach, and expertise. The London-based agency shares with its partners a commitment to long-term career management—this year marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Simon Rattle joining its roster—rooted in early-stage talent development. Recent initiatives include the successful Lies Askonas Fellowship program that provides young artists with personalized mentorship and support while connecting them with more experienced colleagues.

“Askonas Holt has long been a valued collaborative partner, and our companies share remarkably similar philosophies with regard to artist management and community engagement,” said Berretta, noting that the entities share numerous clients on their respective sides of the Atlantic. “As soon as we joined SFCM, colleagues at both institutions expressed mutual excitement to work more closely with Donagh and with Askonas Holt. The opportunity to develop our shared vision is tremendous.”

“Music is essential to life, and education is the best promise for tomorrow,” said Stull. “These are the values that inspire us to take risks with optimism and conviction. This endeavor promises to create a new path for all of us to a beautiful and brighter future.”