James Williams has been Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) since 2016. Notable achievements include the appointment of Vasily Petrenko as the RPO’s next Music Director (starting 2021), a new partnership between the RPO and the Royal Albert Hall, and overseeing an international touring schedule that has involved the RPO performing across the world, including major tours of Asia, Europe and the USA. In 2018, the RPO was named by a leading classical music website as the world’s busiest orchestra and in 2018/19 Season played to a live audience of over 500,000. Prior to this, James worked for 8 years at the Philharmonia Orchestra responsible for the Orchestra’s UK concert and commercial programmes working with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lorin Mazel and Valdimir Ashkenazy.
Additionally, James led several major audience development and digital programmes including iOrchestra, a virtual orchestra project which introduced orchestral music to over 200,000 people in the South West of England. Other roles have included 5 years working at the Royal Northern College of Music as Programming Manager and a period running a regional branch of Yehudi Menuhin inspiring music education programme Live Music Now!