Chief Executive

James Murphy joined the Royal Philharmonic Society in July 2018. Previously, he was Managing Director of Southbank Sinfonia, the orchestra that provides graduate musicians with a much-needed springboard into the music profession. Under James’s artistic and executive leadership, the orchestra enjoyed a period of noted prosperity and growth. He was responsible for planning and programming over 70 concerts annually, instigating the orchestra’s acclaimed role centre-stage in the National Theatre’s Amadeus, creating

partnerships with organisations including Southbank Centre, Notre-Dame de Paris and Sir Nicholas Hytner’s Bridge Theatre, commissioning new works from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Hannah Kendall and Sally Beamish, establishing the Southbank Sinfonia Foundation to safeguard the orchestra’s long-term future, and championing marginalised female talent (50% of guest conductors were female and music by 24 female composers was programmed for 2018).

Previously he was Director of Communications of the National Youth Orchestra where he refreshed the brand of a treasured institution, putting the voice of its young members at the forefront and creating ventures nationwide for them to inspire younger children. He also commissioned Anna Meredith’s social media sensation HandsFree for the Cultural Olympiad and PRS Foundation’s 20x12 festivities. Prior to this he was Marketing Manager of the Royal College of Music where he co-led the vocational advice department, advising students and alumni on promoting themselves and establishing their careers. He also boosted the RCM’s commitment to contemporary music, co-curating the UK’s first ever festival of music by the German composer Helmet Lachenmann, broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

James writes regularly about classical music for the Huffington Post. He has appeared as a guest commentator on the BBC Proms broadcasts, on BBC 2, BBC 4 and BBC Radio 3. At the outset of his career, he worked with the BBC Philharmonic and for the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, and studied music at the University of York.

Contact James


Dame Janet Baker CH DBE, legendary mezzo-soprano: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 1987 and the RPS Gold Medal in 1990


In the Beatles film Help, the Fab Four sing Beethoven's Ode to Joy from 'the famous 9th Symphony' (commissioned by the RPS) in order to tame an angry Bengal tiger. Of course everyone joins in...