Industry Idols – Timothy Walker

Wednesday 22nd December 2010

This week’s Industry Idol is Timothy Walker, the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

What are the first, most important steps a young artist needs to take when they embark on their career as a performer?

It is very important to acquire a good agent as soon as possible. The manager should take over from, or work with the teacher, or mentor, to devise a career plan. It is important to recognise one’s limitations and to think carefully about the requests for performance. It is generally better to turn down an offer if the work being requested is not in repertoire or there is not adequate time to prepare. The career plan will keep the artist on course. Recognise your USPs and capitalise on them.

What was your first job in the music industry?

Concert Manager, Canberra School of Music, Australian National University.

What skills do you think are needed to succeed in the music industry?

The style you adopt in your working practice is paramount. There is every need to be diplomatic, respectful, and clear and honest in your negotiations. Always recognise the contributions of others, encourage a team approach and give credit where credit is due. Understand that there are a lot of people at different levels who contribute to the performance happening and recognise the importance of all of those people and their efforts and not just the star performer. Try to get on with everyone!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt during your career?

Listening. Not taking hasty decisions. Recognising what needs to be dealt with quickly and what will probably solve itself it you let it lie in the pending tray. Respecting the work of those you are associated with.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Going to LPO concerts.

On a typical working day, what’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?

Open the window, brew the coffee and check emails.

Do you think there is anything in the classical music industry that needs to be changed? If yes, why?

We can never promote ourselves too much. More people need to experience what we offer.

Are there any young musicians, emerging venues, exciting companies, composers etc that you are keeping your eye on?

Yes, but I keep this intelligence very close to my chest.

Where do you read about classical music?

Classical Musician, Gig.

Where is your favourite place in the world for classical music?

Musikverein, Vienna

Photographer: Chris Blott