Association of British Orchestras

Main Programme 2022/23

“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.”

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.

2022-23 participants

This year’s successful applicants are professionals representing different aspects of the orchestral sector:

Jordan Armstrong, Youth Company Manager, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Hannah Barkley, Artistic Administration and Company Manager, Garsington Opera
George Lee, Programme Manager, Britten Pears Young Artist Programme, Britten Pears Arts
Lowri Porter, Freelance violinist, teacher and coach
Julia Roderick, Head of Community Engagement, Bristol Beacon
Laura Willis, Development Director, London Philharmonic Orchestra

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.

Find Your Way offers the opportunity to spend a year exploring and seeking to reflect, understand and begin to fulfil your own ambitions. Each year the ABO selects 6 people for the programme from applications across the wider orchestra sector (including musicians, youth orchestras, conservatoires, musical organisations that offer wider access and others).

We see leadership as including anyone with areas of responsibility and influence that involves others; some of our alumni have gone on to lead companies and others have happily expanded their capability to lead in their existing roles; some are managers and some are musicians, and some are both. The following is directly from the 2021/22 cohort:


  • Want to understand yourself better and increase your confidence
  • Want to get the best out of yourself and the people you work with
  • Are open minded, forward-thinking and keen to try out new approaches to leadership
  • Want to make positive change in the arts sector, but don’t know how to
  • Enjoy learning and being reflective
  • Want to connect with other people in the arts sector and build your support network
  • Would benefit from having a confidential, safe and supportive space to explore and discuss things you struggle with
  • Would enjoy a mentoring relationship – giving you time and space to focus on you and your development
  • Want to develop skills in listening, teamwork and coaching’

FYW is a very personal journey for participants, no one size fits all. A defining feature of FYW is that it is developed according to that year’s participants, and while we do have some fundamental areas to explore, the programme is shaped to meet each cohort’s interests and needs. Participants play a key role in shaping future programmes. As leaders of FYW we view it as a privilege to spend time with so many extraordinary people doing amazing things in our sector. To be responsive we challenge ourselves to provide you with time and skills that create a bespoke leadership programme.

For further information please see the document at the bottom of this page.

Previous participants

2021-22 programme participants were:

Gordon Bragg, Sub-principal second violin, Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Ellie Dunachie, Head of Programmes and Partnerships, Orchestras for All; Miriam Crozier, Marketing & Communications Manager, Ulster Orchestra; Becky Eldridge, Orchestra and Concert Manager, Orchestra of the Swan; Hattie Rayfield-Williams, Outreach Programme Manager and Development Officer, London Chamber Orchestra; Tammo Schuelke, Artistic Planning Manager, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

2020-21 programme participants were:

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; and Kate Whitlock, General Manager, Hebrides Ensemble

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

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.

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)

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.

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.

Related information

Information about Find Your Way 2022 23

Annual Conference

The next ABO conference will take place in Gateshead,
hosted by The Glasshouse ICM, from 5-7 February 2025.