Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music 2021 (Thematic Forum Ⅰ): James Williams




Royal Philhormonic Orchestra

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's (RPO) mission is to enrich lives through orchestral experiences that are uncompromising in their excellence and inclusive in their appeal. Under the baton of its new Music Director Vasily Petrenko, the RPO gives concerts in London, across the UK and across the world, and in 2018 was named by a leading classical music website as the world's most in-demand orchestra. The RPO is proud of its diversity of performance and community programmes and seeks to widen access to orchestral music to all sections of our society.

We look forward to sharing with delegates at the Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music 2019 best practice from the RPO's programmes whilst equally learning from and being inspired by colleagues with other orchestras from China and across the world. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra wishes Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music 2019 much success.


James Williams, Managing Director

James Williams was appointed Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in June 2016. Notable achievements include the appointment of Vasily Petrenko as the RPO’s next Music Director (starting 2021); a new Associate Orchestra partnership between the RPO and the Royal Albert Hall; establishing a new home for the Orchestra at Wembley Park in partnership with the developer Quintain; and overseeing an international touring schedule that has involved the RPO performing across the world including major tours of Asia, Europe and the USA. In 2018, the RPO was named by a leading classical music website as the world’s busiest orchestra and in an average Season plays to a live audience of over 500,000.

Prior to this, James worked for eight years at the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) responsible for the Orchestra’s UK concert and commercial programmes working with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lorin Mazel and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Additionally, James led several major audience development and digital programmes including iOrchestra, a virtual orchestra project which introduced orchestral music to over 200,000 people in the South West of England. With a background in music education and former positions including five years working at the Royal Northern College of Music as Programming Manager and a period running a regional branch of Yehudi Menuhin inspiring music education programme Live Music Now, James now holds voluntary Board positions with the Royal College of Music, Metroland Cultures (London Borough of Brent) and music charity Mayfield Valley Arts Trust. He is also a Board member of the Association of British Orchestras.

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