Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

ENO appoints Stuart Murphy as chief executive

10:34, 8th March 2018

Stuart Murphy, former director of Sky Entertainment Channels, has been appointed chief executive of English National Opera (ENO).

He will take up the post on the 3 April, joining Daniel Kramer and Martyn Brabbins on ENO’s leadership team. He succeeds Cressida Pollock, who announced in September 2017 that she would be stepping down from the role this summer.

Murphy has more than two decades of experience in the creative industries, including positions leading senior, multi-disciplinary management teams at both Sky and the BBC.

He began his career at BBC Manchester, and became the country’s youngest tv channel controller at the age of 26, running comedy and music channel UK Play.

Murphy subsequently became channel controller of BBC Choice, and later devised, launched and ran BBC Three in 2003. While at BBC Three he developed a reputation for developing new talent and commissioning innovative, award-winning programmes. Notable examples include Flashmob The Opera, a live opera from Paddington Station in October 2004, which brought together opera choruses from across the country with the BBC Concert Orchestra and was viewed live by almost 100,000 viewers; this was followed, in April 2005, with Flashmob The Opera: Meadowhall, a specially adapted version of the Faust legend.

After two years as creative director at Two Four Productions, Stuart joined Sky in 2009 to run Sky One. In 2013 he took charge of all Entertainment Channels at Sky, including Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts and Sky Atlantic. He oversaw the expansion of Sky Arts, increasing the channel’s commissioning budget by more than 40% and led Sky’s increase in investment in original productions, the budget for which tripled during his tenure.

He stepped down from Sky in 2015 to pursue other creative opportunities and to spend time pursuing his other interests, including playing the clarinet and charity work.

Dr Harry Brunjes, chair of ENO, said: ‘Stuart’s history of enabling great creativity alongside his commercial acumen will perfectly complement ENO’s artistic and musical excellence. We were impressed by the significant growth in both Sky’s audience and output under Stuart’s direction, and by his proven ability to unite and motivate his teams through a clear and inspiring vision. I look forward to seeing the company continue to prosper and grow with Stuart at the helm.’

Murphy said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to have been appointed, adding: ‘For a long time now I have wanted to pursue my passion for classical music and opera in a professional capacity, and so it is a privilege to lead an organisation that is so committed to world-class artistic, musical and technical excellence. I very much look forward to joining Daniel, Martyn and the whole ENO team. I am personally committed to ensuring that ENO continues to develop new audiences, new partnerships and on new platforms in order to ensure that the company remains as thrilling and vital now as it was when it was first founded.’

Martyn Brabbins, music director of ENO, said: ‘Stuart Murphy impressed me as a man of great integrity. He has the confidence borne of being a highly successful leader, while at the same time he displays a refreshing humility in his willingness to listen and learn from all those around him. We are looking forward to the new dynamism he will bring to ENO at this time of renewed energy within the company.’


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