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Career pathways: Orchestral Management

Orchestral Management is one of three pathways on the College’s Arts Management MA course.

Why study Orchestral Management?

We spoke to two current students, Hannah Staniford and Helen Phipps, about their time on the course so far, and how it’s preparing them to work in the industry.

Hannah became interested in orchestral management while she was in the second year of her undergraduate music degree, studying here at the College.

'I worked on a REPCo project and that’s what made me decide it’s what I wanted to do. Over the next two years, I got some shadowing and orchestral management opportunities.

I chose the course because I realised that although performing just wasn’t for me, I get a buzz off organising and putting on a show.'
Helen Phipps

Helen Phipps also did her undergrad at the College, but like Hannah realised that she didn’t actually want to become a professional player.

‘I began to explore things, and from there did the Arts Management undergrad module to see if I liked it, which I did. It was always engaging, and from there I knew it’s what I wanted to do.’

'I did my research and really liked the practical elements of this course, working alongside industry professionals on work placements, so you actually gain real experience.'
Helen Phipps

Learning from Experience

‘In the first term we had Orchestral Management class every Monday.

The module is led by Michael Garvey (who was previously the director of BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (BBC NOW) and we also had visiting speakers,’ explained Hannah. ‘I don’t think you can get that anywhere else in the country.’

Hannah at her Repco concert on the Dora Stoutzker stage

Helen explained that a lot of the learning came from her one to one sessions with a mentor throughout the Spring term when working on concert planning.

'The sessions have been really useful because you can talk through what’s going well, and get advice, which allows us to learn from the process.'
Helen Phipps

She also learned a lot from the project she had to do with this module. Teaming up with composition & conducting student Dane Madrigal, she put on a concert in St Peter’s church in Roath, highlighting American sacred music.

A Repco performance on the Dora Stoutzker stage

Helen brought together a chamber orchestra and choir for the concert as well as organising rehearsals to bring it all together on stage.

'This was the first time I’d put on a concert. The audience had really positive feedback which was really nice to hear.'
Helen Phipps

'I had such a learning experience. I now know now what works, what doesn’t work and which is the best way to do it. So, I’m putting what I’ve learned into practice, doing a project for REPCo.’

REPCo, (Repertory by Entrepreneurial Performers Company) is the College’s student led arts company, which gives students a chance to bid for and then put on their own shows, providing valuable hands-on experience.

Hannah put on her Orchestral Management project during the Spring REPCo festival.

'The planning was hard work, but the concert went really well on the day. I had senior team members tell me that it was professionally done, and the tech team said the schedule I created helped it to run so smoothly.'
Hannah Staniford

Gaining experience through placements

In the Spring, full-time Arts Management students go on a 90 hour placement.

Helen worked with Naomi Bailey, the College’s Orchestral and Ensemble Manager.

'That was really valuable, I learnt a lot of hands-on stuff. Naomi talked me through everything so clearly and structured the placement so that by the end of it I was doing everything by myself.'
Hannah Staniford

Hannah worked with Sinfonia Cymru, the UK’s leading under 30s orchestra, and found she really enjoyed working at a smaller organisation.

‘I loved that you get to be a part of every bit of the process, but I’m also looking forward to going to work with BBC NOW for my summer placement as it’s such a different, larger organisation.I chose to go there because it focuses on other areas within the orchestra – education, marketing, broadcasting – and I can choose to go wherever I want, which is going to be exciting.’

'I chose to go there because it focuses on other areas within the orchestra – education, marketing, broadcasting – and I can choose to go wherever I want, which is going to be exciting.'
Hannah Staniford

Similarly, Helen chose her placement with Bath Festival Orchestra to get a very different experience.

‘I’ll be remote working, with trips to London and Bath. It’s orchestral management, but I’ll also be covering education, marketing and finance.’

'The course definitely prepares you for the industry. Especially if you do the orchestral management placements. It gives you everything you need to walk straight into a job.'
Hannah Staniford

Diolch i Hannah a Helen am siarad â ni am eu profiad ar y cwrs, a dymunwn y gorau i chi ar eich lleoliadau yn nhymor yr Haf.

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