Southbank Sinfonia has appointed William Norris as managing director. He takes over from James Murphy who moves to Royal Philharmonic Society as chief executive.
Williams is fresh back to the UK after resigning as managing director from Canada’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, where he spent three years. Prior to this he led the marketing team at London’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment where he developed The Night Shift, a popular informal classical music night.
Said Williams: “I’ve been watching the impressive progress Southbank Sinfonia has been making for a while now, and have admired its tenacity and bravery in challenging some of the norms of classical music and in particular for so strongly campaigning for a gender balance within our industry.”
“I’m really excited to be joining this great team at such a promising moment and look forward to continuing the important work of the organisation, both in giving young musicians a superb start in the industry and helping to challenge their – and audiences’ – notions of what classical music is and can be in the 21st century.”
A bedrock of Southbank Sinfonia is its youth and development strategy, each year it provides bursaries for 33 selected graduate musicians to form an orchestra, with full support from the Sinfonia. Fellows then gain experience with partnership organisations including Royal Opera House and Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Sean Finnan, chair of Southbank Sinfonia, said: “William’s track record, experience and contacts in the profession are top quality and we are thrilled to have him on board. Attracting someone of William’s calibre is a great endorsement of our strategy and ambition. He brings with him incredibly strong knowledge and ideas which will be vital as we continue our ambitious plans to grow and develop Southbank Sinfonia both as a charity and as an orchestra.”
Simon Over, founder and music director of Southbank Sinfonia, added: “I couldn’t be more delighted that William is joining us at this crucial moment in Southbank Sinfonia’s history. Both William and the orchestra are renowned for creativity and innovation so he is a perfect fit. We’re all looking forward to seeing the orchestra flourish under his leadership.”