During the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) conference in Manchester this week, the ABO/Classical Music Awards were presented at BBC Quay House, MediaCityUK in Salford Quays.

Hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Elizabeth Alker and Tom McKinney on 29 January 2020, the awards recognise those who contribute to the success of the UK’s classical music industry within the fields of orchestral, concert hall and artist management.

Winner of the Artist Manager of the Year category was Helen Sykes of Helen Sykes Artists’ Management, who was praised for her impact leading the International Artist Managers’ Association Brexit Committee. Sykes contributed to lobbying efforts with fellow organisations including the ABO, providing regular updates and advice to artist managers in the UK and abroad as well as to international orchestras and opera companies.

Concert Hall Manager of the Year went to programme director of Kings Place, Helen Wallace, in recognition of her achievement in curating Kings Place’s year-long celebration of female creativity in music and words, Venus Unwrapped.

Orchestra Manager of the Year was awarded to Peter Garden, executive director of Performance and Learning at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for his work championing, devising and developing a strategic approach to the RLPO musicians’ performance, wellbeing and development and leading pioneering work to bring music to adults and children across Merseyside.

The ABO presented its 2020 ABO Award to Dunard Fund director Carol Colburn Grigor in recognition of her contribution in charitable giving to classical music and the arts, having donated over £100million to arts in the UK through the Dunard Fund. The ABO Award is presented annually in recognition of the work of an individual or institution considered by the ABO membership to have made the most important contribution to the UK’s orchestral life.

Gavin Reid, chair of the ABO, commented: ‘Our ABO/Classical Music Awards put the spotlight on those who contribute so much in the areas of artist, concert hall and orchestral management – three pillars of our industry without which we wouldn’t be able to exist. Many congratulations to all the recipients.’