16 March 2023

Sir Simon Robey announced as next Chair of Royal Academy of Music

The Royal Academy of Music has today announced Sir Simon Robey will be the next Chair of its Governing Body.

One of the UK's leading investment bankers, Sir Simon has a deep love of music. He has been involved with the Academy for almost twenty years, as a trustee from 2004 to 2014, and longstanding supporter. Sir Simon will become Chair of the Governing Body in July 2024, taking over from Dame Jenny Abramsky who has been Chair since 2014.

Sir Simon will lead the Academy’s Governing Body following a period of significant curriculum and physical change, such as the building of the Sainsbury Theatre and Angela Burgess Hall, and the establishing of the Sir Elton John Global Exchange Programme with twelve other leading conservatoires. Current Bicentenary celebrations have resulted in a transformational £60million fundraising campaign, a series of endowed professorships, and an ambitious performance and recording series with many of the world’s leading musicians, including the 200Pieces – commissions of new works for solo instrument or voice for every year since the Academy was founded.

As a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, Sir Simon read English. He later embarked on a 25-year career at Morgan Stanley. He co-founded Robertson Robey LLP and latterly was joined by Simon Warshaw to create Robey Warshaw LLP, a specialist corporate finance advisory business. He is currently Chairman of Britten Pears Arts, a trustee of YCAT (Young Classical Artists Trust) and Honorary Vice President of the Royal Opera House, following 10 years as Chair. Sir Simon was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2016 for services to music.

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, the Principal of the Academy, said “on behalf of the students, staff and Governors, I would like to thank Dame Jenny Abramsky for a decade of dedication to the Academy. With over a year to go in her current role, this isn’t the time to reflect on her indefatigable support for me and my team, save to say that she has an enlightened view on quality, opportunity and the role of the arts which is infectious and inspiring. She has led the Governing Body at a significant point in our history, ensuring we are robust in our mission to move music forward as we head into our third century.

I look forward to continuing this mission with Sir Simon, who will bring his vast experience in the cultural sector and business to underpin his personal commitment to music and young musicians, and to develop the Academy’s reach.

Dame Jenny Abramsky added “the Academy is an incredibly special place. Its commitment to find, train and support the finest musical talent, wherever it comes from, is exemplary. I would like to wish Simon the best for his tenure.

Sir Simon commented “I have a long-standing affection for the Academy and a deep admiration for the work it does and the young people it serves. I am thrilled to take on this role as the Academy moves into its third century. Now, more than ever, we must work hard to ensure that the finest music education and performance can flourish, and that talented young people are equipped with every opportunity to make music important in people’s lives.

Notes to editors

The Royal Academy of Music moves music forward by inspiring successive generations of musicians to connect, collaborate and create. We are the meeting point between the traditions of the past and the talent of the future, seeking out and supporting the musicians today whose music will move the world tomorrow.

From pre-school to post-doc, our students come here from more than 50 countries. We challenge them to find their own voice, take risks and push boundaries. Jacob Collier, Freddie De Tommaso, Edward Gardner, Evelyn Glennie, Elton John, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Felicity Lott and Simon Rattle all learnt their craft here.

Every student benefits from a stimulating curriculum and an ambitious range of concerts and events. Legendary artists come here not just to perform, but to become mentors, friends and musical partners.

A world of music comes to us – and we send music back out into the world. As we embark on our third century, our aim is to shape the future of music by discovering and supporting talent wherever it exists.

Music never stands still – and nor will we.

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