Simon Webb appointed as BBC’s head of orchestras and choirs

Florence Lockheart
Thursday, November 3, 2022

The former director of the BBC Philharmonic will start his new role in January 2023

© James Slack
© James Slack

The BBC has today announced the appointment of Simon Webb to the role of head of orchestras and choirs. Starting in his new role in January 2023, Webb will be the first to hold this newly created role.

Created following the BBC’s classical music review earlier this year, the role will provide strategic direction to shape the BBC’s role in the UK’s classical music scene. Webb will be directly responsible for the leadership and creative direction of the BBC’s ensembles.

BBC director of music, Lorna Clarke, said: ‘The BBC plays a unique and vital role in the classical music world, both in the UK and internationally, and I’m hugely proud of that. As we look ahead to the future and hope to refine and strengthen our public purpose to deliver the best quality music to the widest possible audiences, I am thrilled Simon joins us as our new Head of Orchestras and Choirs, a key member of the BBC Music team.’

Webb began his career as a cellist, joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) in 1996. Leaving the LPO nine years later, Webb worked in concert promotion as well as with Arts Council England. He then took the role of director of orchestral management at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra ​in 2008, and became director of the BBC Philharmonic in 2014. He was appointed a governor of Chethams School of Music the following year, and was elected chair of the ABO Board in November 2020.

In his new role, Webb will develop an outreach programme for the BBC Orchestras and Choirs, as well as working on a strategy to develop future audiences and partnerships. He will work with Alan Davey, controller for radio 3 and BBC proms and, after Davey’s scheduled leaving date in March 2023, with his successor to support an inclusive classical music sector.

Webb said: ‘The BBC Orchestras and Choirs fulfil a unique and valuable role within the UK orchestral sector. They are internationally recognised for the excellence of their performances on-air, online and in venues across the UK, for their education work and the value they bring as partners both within the BBC and beyond.’