Association of British Orchestras

Find Your Way

“My expectations were more than met, they were absolutely blown away. I thought the programme would be about organisations and networks, and instead I learned so much about myself. I felt valued and encouraged to bring my best to every session, because everyone I met was inspiring and exciting.”

Find Your Way programme participant


Summer 2021 dates to be confirmed, Snape Maltings*

The ABO has six additional places for participants to join the six members of the Find Your Way 2020/21 cohort for a residential leadership training course at Snape Maltings, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SP,

Snape Maltings, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SP, for a 48 hour course from 12 noon Friday to 1.30pm Sunday, in the summer of 2021, dates to be confirmed.

The ABO is making available these places for ABO and non-ABO member organisations and welcomes applications from musicians. Applications from non-UK orchestras, through our international partnerships, will be also considered. There will be a competitive selection process for the course and applications should be made by using the form below.

The three-day course will be led by professional coach and mentor, Richard Wigley, Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra and Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Additional speakers/trainers will be involved in specific areas. Key areas to be covered will include leadership, creative programming, realising concepts, diversity: exploring the nature of self-limiting beliefs and how they can manifest themselves in the workplace; marketing, learning & participation, fundraising, coaching and presentation skills, financial sustainability, organisational culture and managing workload.

Criteria for selection

All places on the course will offered following an application process. If you have already applied you will be contacted. If you are thinking of applying or have any questions please contact

Cost of the residential course: £700+ VAT (ABO members) £900+ VAT (non-UK orchestras)

*The residential course taking place at Snape Maltings is dependent on Government advice allowing people to meet for work/education.

What does the cost include?

  • Cost of the course
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in Aldeburgh
  • Lunch on Friday and Saturday

What does it not include?

  • Travel to and from Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings
  • Evening meals during the course, lunch on Sunday

For further information please contact Fiona Harvey, Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant:

The 2020/21 Find Your Way cohort is:

Richard Collins, Head of Programming, Royal Northern College of Music
Ursula Heidecker-Allen, Violinist, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Sumita Menon, Choral and Schools Projects Manager, London Symphony Orchestra
Ruth Millar, Deputy Orchestra Manager, Ulster Orchestra
Nick Thorne, Executive Director, Orchestras for All
Kate Whitlock, General Manager, Hebrides Ensemble

What is Find Your Way?

Find Your Way is a transformative professional development leadership programme for senior and emerging managers in orchestras and classical music organisations who have aspirations for leadership. It offers participants to look boldly to the future, to examine, broaden and improve on current practice for the long-term benefit of the sector. The 9-month programme, starting in October 2020, offers professional development based around a tailored Individual Development Plan co-developed with an experienced coach.

Richard Wigley, Wigley Arts Management Ltd, and Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, leads the Find Your Way programme with Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Fiona Harvey, ABO Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, is the programme’s Project Manager.

“Each individual leaves with a clear vision for their future as a collaborative and coaching leader with the tools to make that happen. The programme is very demanding for each cohort, however FYW develops vital modern leadership for the whole sector.” (Richard Wigley)

Who is it for?

We are looking to select 6 participants who will either be working in the orchestral, classical music and arts sectors, and who have at least five years’ paid work experience; or they are orchestral musicians looking to develop their leadership. There is one place in the cohort of 6 for a musician.

What is included in the programme?

At the heart of Find Your Way is the commitment of ambitious managers and musicians to drive their own knowledge, skills and profile, in combination with mentoring from orchestra CEOs. Guest speakers from the classical music sector are also invited to Find Your Way group meetings, to provide different perspectives and additional learning.

  • Three group meetings in October* and December* 2020, and February* 2021, all with CEO level guest speakers
  • Individual Development Plans co-designed by each participant with Richard Wigley
  • Psychometric testing using Thomas International Personality Profile Assessments and associated coaching by Andy Beaumont
  • CEO-level mentoring (up to 6 one-to-one sessions)
  • Placements at their mentor's orchestra
  • ABO Conference, March 2021: attend as delegates; co-design and co-lead, with the other Find Your Way participants, a Fresh Thinking session
  • A 3-day residential management training course, in January* 2021 at Snape Maltings
  • Final group meeting, late April/early May* 2021

* all dates are subject to change and will be confirmed with the participants. The 2020 meetings will be held via Zoom. It is hoped that the 2021 meetings/course/conference will be held in person.

We aim to hold our meetings in spaces which are accessible, and we will work with the access needs of participants.

The cost

Find Your Way is supported by the ABO Trust, Help Musicians and the Vernon Ellis Foundation. Each participant’s orchestra/ organisation is also expected to contribute a programme fee of £1,500 plus VAT. The cost to non-members is £2000 plus VAT.


Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, and disabled people are currently under represented in our programme and courses and in leadership roles in the classical music sector. We welcome and encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, and disabled people*, and we are offering a 50% reduction to the programme fee for a successful candidate. The bursary is supported by funding from Help Musicians and the ABO Trust.

* The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as someone who has physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

What’s included in the programme cost:

  • ABO Conference: delegate fee
  • Residential course: delegate fee, accommodation and meals/refreshments

What’s not included in the programme cost:

  • Travel: to and from group meetings; to and from meetings with your mentor; to and from ABO Conference; to and from the residential course; to and from any additional training or meetings
  • ABO Conference: Accommodation, Conference dinner and concert
  • Accommodation: if required when attending meetings with the other participants, or mentor
  • Increased confidence, individual motivation, clarity of direction, productivity, creative thinking, planning and creative enterprise
  • Fresh thinking to help drive the classical music sector forward
  • New skills (hard and soft) that can be shared in their home organisations
  • Sector-specific training
  • Through mentoring, leadership training and being part of the 55+ FYW alumni network: a better understanding of the value of collaboration and sharing of information

Time commitment

Find Your Way aims to be a programme that is tailored to your professional development needs, determined by you, with a balance between a flexible programme of mentoring, training and meetings within a 9-month structure. The key elements that the ABO expects you will attend are the first three group sessions, the ABO Conference/ the Fresh Thinking session, the residential course and the final group session. The rest of the programme should fit around your working life, and we would encourage you to talk to your CEO/line manager about participating in the programme before submitting your application.


Participation in the programme aims to provide the following outcomes:

  • Increased confidence, individual motivation, clarity of direction, productivity, creative thinking, planning and creative enterprise
  • Fresh thinking to help drive the classical music sector forward
  • New skills (hard and soft) that can be shared in their home organisations
  • Sector-specific training
  • Through mentoring, leadership training and being part of the 55+ FYW alumni network: a better understanding of the value of collaboration and sharing of information.

Previous participants

2015-16 pilot programme year participants were:

Cath Arlidge, CBSO; Flo Ambrose, Royal College of Music, Tim Davy, London Symphony Orchestra, Patrick McCarthy, Ulster Orchestra and Sue Voysey, Hallé.

2016-17 programme participants were:

Anthony Brice, Academy of Ancient Music; Jenny Chadwick, Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Matt Downes, Welsh National Orchestra; Jeongmin Kim, London Philharmonic Orchestra; James Thomas, Sinfonia Cymru; and Alex Walden, BBC Concert Orchestra.

2017-18 programme participants were:

Claire Bayliss, City of London Sinfonia (now Royal Opera House), Toks Dada, Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Helen Dunne, Royal Opera House, Simon Fairclough, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Nick Jackman, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Annie Lydford, English National Opera (now Creative Industries Federation)

2018-19 programme participants were:

Rebekah Cork, Artistic Planning & Tours Manager, Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Joanne Green, Violinist, Scottish Ensemble; Jo Johnson, Senior Marketing Manager, Digital Communications, London Symphony Orchestra; Chris Lewis-Todd, Orchestra Manager, Hallé; Hannah Muddiman, Planning and Tours Manager, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; and Louisa Stanway, Orchestra Manager, Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

2019-20 programme participants were:

Sonali Banerjee, Head of Music Planning, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Doug Bott, Musical Director, OpenUp Music; Helen Brew, Associate Principal Flute, Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Tom Philpott, Planning Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Katy Wakeford-Brown, Artistic Planning Manager (Orchestra and Ensembles), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; and
Sarah Whitston, Finance Director, Southbank Sinfonia


Time spent with my mentor was also highly inspiring and useful in terms of understanding their style of leadership

I feel I was incredibly lucky to be paired with my mentor who has been absolutely fantastic. The perfect person for me to speak to and has provided me with a lot of reassurance and confidence for the future

My expectations (of the residential course) were exceeded. The course was well paced, of the right intensity and it was a pleasure to work with everyone who was there.

I feel that we covered so many key areas over the weekend and it gave me a great overview of so many topics, far more than I thought we would cover. I also felt that the weekend was shaped to the people who were on the course which was a huge positive.

As with the rest of Find Your Way it was wonderful to meet the new participants and find out more about their organisations, roles and backgrounds.

Related information

Find Your Way Residential Application Form

Find Your Way Residential Course Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form