Hazard Chase ceases trading due to COVID-1912:22, 23rd March 2020
The folding of the Cambridge/London-based Hazard Chase artist management company in the wake of the Covid-19-induced collapse of worldwide music-making will send shock waves around not just the profession but the classical music industry as a whole.
‘Our artists, staff, directors and shareholders are devastated by this sad but inevitable turn of events,’ says Hazard Chase managing director, James Brown. ‘Our world has been torn apart in less than a month.’ The option taken was voluntary liquidation: it remains to be seen what will happen to Hazard Chase’s assets and goodwill under the supervision of the liquidator, with Brown apparently indicating an interest in purchasing them from within the company.
With wide interests across a spectrum of leading classical music performers, Hazard Chase has been a major player on the UK and international scene since its formation in 1990 as a joint venture between James Brown and financial services group NW Brown and Company, headed by Nigel Brown. A management buy-out from NW Brown was effected in 1999. ‘Very sad that Hazard Chase has gone,’ comments Nigel Brown. ‘It’s shocking when one of your offspring dies… and hard to think back to those joyful early days.’
Comments on the company’s collapse come from two Hazard Chase client artists among the dozens affected – tenor Adrian Thompson and pianist (also founder/artistic director of the Oxford Lieder Festival) Sholto Kynoch. Says Kynoch: ‘Who would have foreseen this? Artists will survive somehow, but my sympathy goes to all the members of the Hazard Chase team.’ ‘A huge shock,’ adds Thompson. ‘So hard to believe. Alongside my feelings for the company staff I’m particularly concerned for the younger artists on the roster, early in their careers. You just have to hope Hazard Chase isn’t the canary in the mine.’
Thoughts mirrored by Atholl Swainston-Harrison, chief executive of the International Artist Managers’ Association. ‘The speed at which lives are being changed at the moment is astonishing and it’s with great sadness that we see one of the most respected companies in the world close. Knowing how respected James and his team are internationally, I’d like to offer a note of encouragement to all at Hazard Chase and to everyone out there looking down a dark tunnel. Does this mean others will not survive? This is the biggest shakeup in the profession’s history. However, I’ve always maintained that the strength in the sector, its solidarity and determination, is remarkable.’