Rosemary Johnson is to step down from her role as executive director of the Royal Philharmonic Society in summer 2018.
Over two decades, she has led the transformation of the RPS from a London society into a national organisation which plays a major role in the commissioning of new work and supports emerging young professional musicians.
She has also developed the Society’s flagship event, the RPS Music Awards, and has overseen numerous projects, including: RPS bicentenary celebrations in 2013, which included exhibitions, talks and concerts on both sides of the Atlantic; Hear Here!, a two-year long exploration of listening with Classic FM; Encore, the first scheme to focus on follow up performance for the work of living composers; the Women Conductors programme; Musical Routes, a key report into progression in music education by Sarah Derbyshire; and the introduction of awards which recognise the importance of music in challenging social circumstances.
Since 2000, the RPS has commissioned or co-commissioned over 170 works; a marked increase on the 16 pieces commissioned during the 20th century. It supports over 100 young musicians annually through its young musicians programme, facilitating opportunities for enhanced learning and ongoing professional development: mentoring with distinguished musicians; study and travel to international conservatoires; performance opportunities; encouraging women to develop conducting and musical leadership skills; and helping students in need to purchase quality instruments.
Johnson said: ‘It has been a huge privilege to work closely alongside so many distinguished and emerging musicians, programmers and generous supporters and colleagues who all care passionately about ensuring music continues to thrive and is accessible to all. With the RPS trajectory set firmly towards the future, I’m looking forward to watching its next adventures.’
RPS chair John Gilhooly said that Johnson has made ‘an outstanding contribution not just to the RPS, but to the musical life of the UK’, adding: ‘We will have the opportunity celebrate her significant achievements at the annual RPS Awards next May.’