Pemberton steps down at ABO

Mark Pemberton, chief executive of the Association of British Orchestras for the last 15 years, is to step down in the autumn.

The pressures of dealing with the pandemic and the poltical severing of European associations have helped him make his decision to quit, he said today.

“These last two years, dominated by Covid and Brexit, have taken their toll in terms of increased workload in helping the sector survive” he said. “It is therefore time to pass the baton to someone with the energy and drive that I was able to bring to the role 15 years ago, who will work with the board on a refreshed vision for the association, and who will tackle the challenges ahead.”

The ABO scored a number of achievements during Pemberton’s stewardship, including getting the Class 1 National Insurance threat shelved, and persuading the Treasury to implement Orchestra Tax Relief. As well as wielding considerable political influence, the association’s operations have been expanded and a new series of management awards introduced. Membership has expanded and a major achievement has been to help members recover professionally from the effects of the pandemic. The ABO annual conference now attracts delegates from all over the world.

Pemberton received an OBE in the New Year Honours List, and the ABO special award in February. 

“Mark has been the strongest advocate for British orchestras during his time with the ABO, championing our work and ensuring the voice of the sector is heard loudly and clearly across the UK’s governments and assemblies” said the association’s chairman, Simon Webb. “The UK’s orchestras have adapted, evolved and thrived in the last fifteen years, always benefitting from Mark’s commitment and energy and his deep understanding of our work.”

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