Governing Body

The Royal Academy of Music, Britain’s oldest conservatoire, was established in 1822 and granted a Royal Charter in 1830 (supplemental charter granted in 1998). The Academy is a registered charity, number 310007 and a company registered with Companies House, number RC00043


HM The Queen


HRH The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO, Hon FRAM


Lord Burns GCB, Hon FRAM
Sir Curtis Price KBE, Hon RAM
Sir Elton John CBE, Hon RAM
Sir David Lumsden MA, DPhil, Hon RAM, Hon FRCO

Honorary Trustees

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster GCB, CVO
The Rt Hon Lord Carnwath CVO
Sir Rodric Braithwaite GCMG

The members of the Governing Body are:

Dame Jenny Abramsky CBE, DBE, Hon RAM (Chair)

Jenny Abramsky headshot





Jenny Abramsky has been Chair of the Royal Academy of Music since September 2014 and is also Chair of the Board of Governors of the Royal Ballet. From 2008 to 2014 she was Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund/National Heritage Memorial Fund, as well as Chair of the University of London, Board of Trustees. Previously she was for ten years the BBC’s Director of Radio and of Music . Before that, as Director of Continuous News, she ran all the BBC’s 24 hour news services on TV, Radio and Online. At the BBC she created and launched more new services than any previous BBC executive, including Radio Five Live, BBC News Online and BBC News 24. She is a Trustee of the Shakespeare Schools Festival and sits on the Board of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Previously she was Chair of Hampstead Theatre, a Governor of the British Film Institute,a trustee of Central School of Ballet and sat on the Economic and Social Research Council. Jenny was awarded a CBE in 2001 and made DBE in 2009.

Lady Sainsbury of Turville CBE, Hon FRAM, FSA(Deputy Chair)

Susie is Deputy Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Chairman of RSC America, Inc. She chaired the rebuilding of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, the construction of the Courtyard Theatre and the 2015 reconstruction of The Other Place from the shell of the Courtyard Theatre. Susie began her career in the international sales division of Oxford University Press before joining Jonathan Cape, where she worked first as Editor and then Commissioning Editor for its educational division, Jackdaw Publications. She is Deputy Chairman of the Royal Academy of Music and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Hon Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, also of the Royal Academy of Music. She is a member of the International Advisory Council and the Dean’s Council of the School of Arts at Columbia University, New York, Susie is a member of the Sir Harold Acton Society of New York University. She is also a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, Washington DC. In 2010 she was awarded a CBE for services to the arts, and in 2014 she received the Prince of Wales’ Medal for Arts Philanthropy.

The Rt Hon Jonathan Sumption OBE, PC, FSA, HonFRAM (Deputy Chair)

Jonathan Sumption began his career as a history fellow of Magdalen College Oxford, and then changed to law. After 37 years at the bar he was appointed straight to the Supreme Court in January 2012. He is the author of a number of books about European medieval history and numerous judgments and lectures about English law. His role on the Academy's Governing Body satisfies a long-standing interest in the training and development of professional musicians and repaying something of the pleasure that their work has given him over the years.

John Burgess Hon FRAM
Biography to follow.

Lord Blackwell

Lord Blackwell is currently Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group plc having joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director in 2012. His previous business roles included Chairman of Interserve plc, Senior Independent Director of both Standard Life plc and SEGRO plc as well as a Non-Executive Board Member of the OFT and OFCOM. Before that he was a partner of McKinsey & Co for much of his career.
From 1995 to 1997 Lord Blackwell was Head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit for John Major, having previously worked in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit for Margaret Thatcher in 1985-86. He is also a past Chairman of the Centre for Policy Studies. He was appointed a Life Peer in 1997.
Lord Blackwell became a Governor of the Royal Academy in June 2017 and is currently also a Governor of The Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham. He was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy from 1963-69, studying piano and violin, and remains an enthusiastic chamber music player.
He holds an MBA and a PhD in Finance from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.

Robin Butler

Robin Butler Headshot





Robin Butler qualified as chartered surveyor at CBRE before becoming a founding director of Chelsfield plc in 1986, where he had responsibility for regeneration projects of metropolitan scale and international significance, including Paddington Basin, White City (now Westfield) and Stratford City in London and Merry Hill in Dudley. Robin has continued in his role as Chairman of New Heritage Regeneration in Dudley. Robin was integral in Chelsfield being floated and becoming a PLC. From 1993–2004 Chelsfield was a FTSE 250 Company, of which Robin was a Director.

Robin joined Lend Lease in 2005, was appointed CEO and Deputy Chairman of Lend Lease Europe in 2007 and remained with the company until November 2009.

Robin co-founded Urban&Civic with Nigel Hugill in 2009 and is Managing Director.  In 2014 Urban&Civic plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, was formed by the combination of Urban&Civic and Terrace Hill.  Major projects include Alconbury Weald and Waterbeach north of Cambridge and Rugby Radio Station, as well as other commercial and residential projects throughout the United Kingdom.

Robin was chairman of Cowdray Park Polo Club for eight years until 2013 and is a director of the Exceptional Wine Company, a specialist Portuguese wine importing business which is run by his wife Carolyn.

Lucy Crowe FRAM

Lucy Crowe studied at the Royal Academy of Music. She has established herself as one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation. She joined the Governing Body in November 2015.

Matthew Ferrey Hon FRAM - retired 31 July 2018

Matthew Ferrey qualified as a Chemical Engineer after which he joined Chevron –Texaco. After holding a number of management posts in downstream operations in Africa, USA and Singapore he returned to London and for many years was a senior partner with the Vitol Group of Companies, a multinational oil refining, trading and shipping group. 

Following this he founded Ranworth Capital which holds investments in a variety of fields including precision engineering, instrumentation and bio-medical engineering. Matthew is an active participant in many of these companies and sits on a number of investee company boards. Matthew is particularly interested in supporting innovative technology companies and has been instrumental in the spin out of companies from University Incubators as well as commercialising research technologies from other institutions.

He is also a director of Lullenden Estates, a property development company.

Matthew is a member of the Royal Academy of Music, Finance and Investment committees and chairs the Academy’s new Theatre Management Group. Matthew is also a Trustee of the Academy of Ancient Music.

Amanda Hill

As A+E Networks' lead brand strategist, Amanda is responsible for managing and evolving marketing in support of A+E Networks’ portfolio of global brands and businesses, including brand strategy, consumer and B2B marketing, and creative execution across all platforms - from linear television to direct-to-consumer to OTT and Digital.  Amanda works closely with Programming, Digital, International, Ad Sales and Distribution divisions to establish the brand vision for the company while ensuring the vision translates into world-class creative, brand equity, viewership and revenue.
Previously, Amanda oversaw A+E Networks’ international marketing, communications and programming across A+E Networks’ global portfolio as Chief Creative Officer, International.  In this role she oversaw numerous international channel launches, grew the company’s position in international content distribution and strengthened the A+E Networks brands by establishing them as leaders in the global content marketplace.
Prior to joining A+E Networks, Amanda served as Chief Brands Officer for BBC Worldwide from December 2012, having joined the company in 2003.  During her tenure she was responsible for developing the overarching brand strategy for all of BBC Worldwide’s businesses and formats, and also developed and oversaw the factual entertainment brand, BBC Earth.  In addition, Amanda led global launches of three new genre-brands, plus the current portfolio of fourteen brands including Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear and Doctor Who.  Prior to that, Amanda worked across a portfolio of FMCG brands at L’Oreal.
Amanda served on the board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and remains on the Advisory Council.

Rehmet Kassim-Lakha

Rehmet is a Managing Director of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Since joining J.P. Morgan Private Bank in 1997 she has worked in the London, Paris and Geneva offices. She spent 6 years advising clients on their investments and then moved on to building relationships with some of the Bank’s key clients and has covered individuals and family offices with complex and sophisticated needs across Europe. Rehmet is now Head of one of the UK banker teams, which provides wealth management advice to the UK Ultra High Net Worth clients. Rehmet is on the Advisory Council of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She was educated in Belgium and read Economics at the University of Durham.

Timothy Parker

Tim Parker has a track-record of success as CEO of diverse businesses, and has also served on the Boards of three FTSE 100 companies, as well as currently chairing the Post Office and the National Trust. He joined the Governing Body in November 2015.

Professor Sir Richard Trainor KBE, BA, MA, DPhil, FKC


Professor Sir Rick Trainor became Rector of Exeter College, Oxford in 2014, having for the previous ten years been Principal of King's College London, where he was also Professor of Social History and is now Professor Emeritus. Born and raised in the USA, he graduated from Brown University before coming to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to read modern history at Merton College. Having completed a master’s degree at Princeton, he returned to Oxford where he became a research student at Nuffield, a junior research fellow at Wolfson and a lecturer at Balliol and took a D.Phil. For twenty-one years he was an academic at Glasgow University, where he was latterly professor and vice-principal. Between 2000 and 2004 he was Vice Chancellor of the University of Greenwich. An expert on 19th and 20th century British elites, and a prominent advocate of innovative methods in university teaching, he served as President of Universities UK 2007-9 and was knighted for services to higher education in 2010. He is President of the Economic History Society, a trustee of the Museum of London and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He is delighted to have the opportunity to assist in the governance of the Academy, a truly outstanding institution.

John Willan BMus, FRAM, FRSA, FCA - retired 31 July 2018

A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, John began his music career at EMI working with Tennstedt, Muti, Rattle (producing his first record), Eschenbach, Munrow, Ozawa, Jochum, Gavrilov and Kremer. Appointed Managing Director of the LPO, he secured the first ever sole residency at the Royal Festival Hall. At BBC Worldwide he built a business, BBC Music, which was turning over £6.5M when he moved to chair the agency, Hazard Chase, for 11 years until 2011 and IAMA for seven years until 2012. He became chair of the Two Moors Festival that year, established Percius, a Cambridge based artist management company, whose clients include I Fagiolini and Rachel Podger, is a Professor at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School , Cambridge and a tutor at BPP Professional Education. An alumnus of the Royal Academy, he chairs its audit committee, sits on the nominations and remuneration committees and is a trustee of the pension fund.

‘The Academy is of the utmost importance to me. It propelled me, after university, headlong into the musical world; I am immensely proud to be part of an organisation of such inestimable quality whose commitment, not only to music, but to all those who study and teach there is total.’

Other trusteeships: The Two Moors Festival, Stradivari Trust, Saffron Hall Trust

William de Winton

William is a former partner of Lansdowne Partners, one of Europe’s largest hedge funds. There he ran the Global Financials Fund for over a decade. Prior to that he was a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley where he headed up the banks team in the equity research department. He now sits on various trustee boards and investment committees, including the UP Foundation (a charity he helped set up following the demise of Kids Company), the Springboard Bursary Foundation, and the investment committee of the RA. His particular charity interest is in expanding educational and life opportunities amongst the socially disadvantaged.
Away from this, he is a keen musician and is currently studying for a piano diploma. He supports a variety of musical organisations including the Wigmore Hall, the LPO, and Music for Autism. He believes music should play a vital part in people’s lives, and the promotion of both excellence in, and access to, the classical music form is highly desirable.

Other trusteeships: UP Foundation and Springboard Bursary Foundation

Damian Wisniewski BSc(Eng), ACGI, LRAM, ACA

Damian Wisniewski is Finance Director at Derwent London plc, the largest of the London-focussed Real Estate Investment Trusts listed on the London stock exchange. He has held this position since January 2010, prior to which he held senior finance positions at a number of property companies including Chelsfield plc and Stanhope Properties PLC. He is a chartered accountant and has an engineering degree from Imperial College, London. He attended Junior Academy from 1972 to 1979, during which time he was awarded his LRAM teaching diploma, and remains a keen musician today.

Elected Members of Governing Body

Melanie Ragge (Academic Staff Representative)
Jon Thorne (Academic Staff Representative)
Kathryn Adamson (Administrative Staff Representative)
Peter Cowlishaw (Student Union President and Student Representative)


Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE, BMus, MPhil, Hon RAM, FKC, FRNCM, FRCM

Senior Management Team

Mark Racz BA, MFA, Hon FBC, Hon RAM Deputy Principal and Dean
Professor Timothy Jones MA, DPhil, LTCL, Hon RAM Deputy Principal (Programmes & Research)
Kirsty MacDonald Deputy Principal (Campaigns and Advancement) and Director of Campaigns     
Judith Barber BSc, CPFA, Hon ARAM Director of Finance

Sandra Green Hon ARAM Secretary to the Governing Body

As of 1 September 2017

A list of charities of which the Governing Body are trustees can be found here.