Jun 9, 2015

Tafelmusik Announces New Managing Director

Senior manager at London’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to assume top administrative post in Toronto

Download photos of William Norris: photo 1 | photo 2
Photo Credit: Joe Plommer
Toronto (Canada), June 10, 2015 … Helen Polatajko, Chair of the Board of Directors of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, is delighted to announce the appointment of William Norris to the position of Managing Director.  William comes to Tafelmusik from the one of the UK’s leading period music ensembles, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), where he is Communications & Creative Programming Director.  A creative visionary who brings a fresh perspective and youthful vitality to the role of Managing Director, William spearheaded a massive increase in OAE ticket sales and introduced ground-breaking initiatives such as The Night Shift — a series of informal period music concerts presented in a relaxed, contemporary setting.  William will take up residence in Toronto and begins his new role with Tafelmusik in the autumn of 2015. 
“On behalf of Tafelmusik’s Board of Directors and the search committee, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to William Norris. Following an exhaustive international search we are confident that with his creative ideas, his international scope, his leadership skills, and his talent for combining programming with audience development, William is the perfect choice to guide Tafelmusik into the next stage of its exciting future,” said Helen Polatajko. “We are very grateful to former Managing Director Tricia Baldwin, who left Tafelmusik in excellent shape with secure financial footing following her extraordinary 14-year tenure, and to Interim Managing Director Alexandra Skoczylas for her guidance and dedication over the past six months.”   
William Norris is a highly respected arts administrator with a wide range of international experience and a particular passion for linking the disciplines of marketing and artistic programming. He recently completed the prestigious DeVos Fellowship at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, under the tutelage of Michael Kaiser.  Since joining the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in 2005, he greatly enhanced the organization’s public profile, increased ticket revenue by more than 150%, and brought a new generation of audiences to the OAE’s work through initiatives like Attitude, a wildly successful programme for students, and The Night Shift series — twice shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society prize for Audience Development.  As a key member of the OAE’s senior management team, William oversaw budget planning and season curation. He made crucial contributions to the orchestra’s five-year strategic plan, developed a new artistic collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe, and spearheaded cross-genre projects including a collaboration with choreographer Henri Oguike, inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
"I am thrilled to be joining Tafelmusik at what is an exciting time for the Orchestra,” said William Norris. “Under the artistic leadership of Jeanne Lamon the Orchestra has established itself as one of Canada and North America’s foremost musical ensembles, attracting a loyal, committed audience. I look forward to furthering the Orchestra's artistic ambitions over the coming years, particularly with the appointment of a new Music Director.” 
“Furthermore, at a time when classical music often feels increasingly marginalised, innovative and flexible groups like Tafelmusik have a key role to play in pushing the boundaries of the art form in ways that engage its enthusiastic and dedicated fans while attracting younger and more diverse audiences. I am excited at the prospect of developing the ensemble's work in these areas, as well as cementing the Orchestra's role as a cultural ambassador for Canada across the world through its extensive touring schedule," said Norris.
After obtaining a Master’s degree in European Cultural Policy and Administration at the University of Warwick in 2000, William Norris worked at the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001 to 2005, prior to joining the OAE. He was a 2014 Fellow of the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) and has co-chaired the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) Marketing Manager meetings. In addition to giving presentations for the British Council’s “Transform Orchestral Leadership” programme in Brazil, he has spoken at  the ABO, Association of French Orchestras, Classical: Next, and Arts Marketing Association conferences and has also given presentations and lectures to Sage Gateshead, Royal Holloway University, Royal College of Music, and the Mitos 21 Theatre Network. He has contributed to various debates at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, among others, and written for publications including Gig, the Guardian, and Spectator online. 
Chief Artistic Advisor Jeanne Lamon remarked, “Over the past three decades Tafelmusik has established itself as one of the world’s top baroque orchestras, thanks in no small part to the persistence and vision of its former managing directors Ottie Lockey and Tricia Baldwin. In William Norris we have found an ideal successor to help guide Tafelmusik through the next exciting stage of its life. William is passionate about the future of classical music performance and has innovative and ambitious ideas about how to bring our artistry to as wide a public as possible, both here at home and around the world. We are thrilled to welcome William to Toronto and look forward to collaborating with him at this inspiring time in Tafelmusik’s history.”