Sagi Hartov (2)

Sagi Hartov (class of 2001)
Dean Director, London College of Contemporary Arts

At the age of ten I was taken to see Rostropovich and Itzhak Perlmann perform at the 50th anniversary of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Here began my long love affair with the cello that has dominated my artistic and professional career to date. After serving my national service as a cellist in the IDF Quartet I continued my studies under Professor Uzi Wiesel in Sydney, Australia. Through a combination of hard studying and disconnecting myself from the world, I was lucky enough to be accepted in both Yale University and subsequently the Royal Academy of Music for my second degree studies.

In 2001 I graduated from the Academy and was fortunate to receive Janet Snowman’s guidance on concert promoting and career advice. Shortly after I took up a role as a Musical Director for a successful series called Sunday Sounds and found an immediate need to learn and accept the connection and mutual existence of arts and business. Through this experience I found myself still lacking the tools and knowledge with regard to networking, communicating and marketing myself via internet and on a one-to-one basis. It was through a long process of trial and error that I found the way to survive in the art world. I was fortunate enough to get a job as the Israeli cultural attaché and through this job I found the perfect opportunity to gain all the extracurricular skills needed to become a successful musician.

During the time of the academic boycott of Israel I decided to help Israeli composers and pushed for events that reflected and celebrated the unique style of Israeli music as the creative hub between east and west. To reflect my intentions I donated to the Academy over 150 musical scores and launched an event in Duke’s Hall with some of the world’s best known classical artists, together with Academy students, performing some of the selected scores.

My patron Lilian Hockhauser, the great impresario, couldn’t believe that I would follow through with my idea to create a competition celebrating Israeli compositions. With her support and the support of Dame Fanny Waterman I launched the Israeli Music Competition ( in the David Josefowitz Hall at the Academy in 2007. To date, the competition has attracted over 22,000 entrants from 45 different countries and is currently paired with another competition I founded to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death: The Ernest Bloch Competition. Consolidating my knowledge from the working world and from my education, the two international competitions are now well-established and are often been reported and broadcast across International media.

A year ago I found the London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA), the idea was to address the increasingly challenging conditions that artists face. At the present moment the highly competitive process of transition from art student to artist — the leap from desire to reality — is reliant on an immediate talent for self-management, self-branding and self-employment. When the long process of honing their talent in education is over and when realising the demanding working world that awaits them, future artists still lack a coherent stepping stone from ambition to achievement.

For this reason, I created The Arts Enterprise Diploma (AED) to give that first leap of faith a little more height. AED is delivered by leading classical music performers and industry experts to offer students a bridge between their time in education and their career taking off. Offering six interdisciplinary business and art management modules, the diploma can offer much more than a simple introduction; it can provide graduates with a deep understanding of topics such as intellectual property, self-promotion and self-employment and how they relate to the building of a successful artistic career.

At LCCA, we have recognised precarity in the creative economies and want to replace that with stability for our students and graduates. Only by giving individuals the tools to make their own talent and craft lead to regular work can we achieve a working wage for a creative life.

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