Angela Dixon succeeds John Gilhooly as RPS Chair

03 May 2024

We are delighted to announce that Angela Dixon is set to become the new Chair of the Royal Philharmonic Society, following the exceptional term fulfilled by John Gilhooly.

Following an open recruitment process, the Board of Trustees has appointed Angela Dixon to fulfil the role of Chair, commencing from the charity’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 22 May 2024. Angela is a highly respected figure in the music profession, from her fourteen years of innovative programming at the Barbican to her groundbreaking work as Chief Executive of Saffron Hall. There she has shaped a sustainable new model of world-class arts and education in a state school in Essex, creating a culture of respect and collaboration between professional, amateur and young musicians. She has been a member of the RPS Board, in the role of Honorary Secretary, since 2020. She becomes the first woman in the Society’s history to fulfil the role of Chair.

Angela follows in the footsteps of John Gilhooly whose dedication and leadership has earned him a lasting place in the Society’s history. John, who is Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall, joined the RPS Board in 2007, first becoming Honorary Secretary, then Chair from 2010. In his 14 years as Chair, John has overseen the bicentenary of the Society, the appointment of Chief Executive James Murphy, the implementation of a new strategic direction, notable growth in charitable activities, and the major re-launch of RPS Membership. In 2023, only weeks after the Coronation, John successfully engaged His Majesty The King in the endeavours of the RPS, in a landmark moment where His Majesty personally presented RPS Honorary Membership to composer and Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir CBE. Following this, we were delighted to announce yesterday that His Majesty The King will take forward Patronage of the RPS, previously fulfilled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Angela Dixon says: ‘It is a great honour for me to become Chair of the Royal Philharmonic Society. The Society has been the guardian of excellence in UK classical music since its inception in 1813 and more recently, a champion of diversity; preserving its rich history whilst embracing an exciting future. This is a turbulent time for the arts and music in particular; the Society must continue to advocate for all of the possibilities and positive outcomes music can have for communities. I am committed to supporting James Murphy and his excellent colleagues, working with the Board and Council, and connecting with our Members, comprising all those who love classical music: musicians, audiences, and administrators. The Society is indebted to John for his dedication, advocacy and care. He has navigated the RPS through some very challenging times with his thoughtful and effective leadership, the positive impact of which will be felt for considerable time to come. I will strive to continue the momentum he has set in train.’

John Gilhooly says: ‘Through my years chairing the RPS, much has changed in classical music and society at large. As the world lurches from one challenge to another, music will fortify us through anything, so long as we invest the care, resource and imagination in ensuring it can prosper. I am grateful to everyone who has helped us to do this at the RPS. I will remain a devoted friend and Member of the RPS, and I am delighted to pass the reins to Angela who is such an inspirational colleague to so many of us in music.’

James Murphy, Chief Executive, says: ‘Huge thanks to John who leaves a revitalised RPS, fit to make the case for why classical music matters, when the message urgently needs to be heard. This precious jewel of an organisation is an entity we can all be part of. Through it, we can support, protect and celebrate all the brilliant things classical musicians do to lift hearts and minds in communities nationwide. When so much is at stake, this matters more than ever. Angela and I invite you to join us for the next chapter of this treasured organisation that has stood the test of time: together, let’s speak out for the transformative and timeless power of classical music and musicians.’


Angela Dixon is Chief Executive of Saffron Hall, a 740-seat concert hall within Saffron Walden County High School. She was born in London, educated in Essex and Suffolk, and studied guitar, clarinet and piano. She went on to study Music at the University of London.

After a few years in the marketing and market research departments of major car manufacturers, Angela moved into the music industry touring orchestras. From 1999, she was classical music programmer at the Barbican Centre, principally working on festivals, commissioning projects and major orchestral residencies. In 2007, Traced Overhead – The Musical World of Thomas Adès won a South Bank Show Award, and Phases: Steve Reich at 70 was nominated for an RPS Award.

In 2011 Angela became Head of Music at the Barbican Centre, heading up three major projects that formed part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012 and leading on Barbican Britten in 2013, celebrating the composer’s centenary. In 2014, Angela took up her current position as Chief Executive of Saffron Hall Trust and in 2016 was presented the ABO/Rheingold Concert Hall Manager of the Year Award.

In addition to her work for Saffron Hall Trust, Angela also works with the composer, conductor and pianist Thomas Adès managing his performing engagements. She is a Trustee of YCAT (Young Classical Artists Trust), a board member of BACH (British Association of Concert Halls) and a member of the oversight group for Essex Music Education Hub.

Angela lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband and three children.


Irish-born John Gilhooly became Director of London’s Wigmore Hall in 2005, making him, then at 32, the youngest leader of any of the world’s great concert halls. As Director of Wigmore Hall, he programmes the largest chamber music and vocal series in the world. He is also Chairman of the Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize, and sits on numerous competition panels worldwide. John was an outspoken advocate for the importance of live performance during the coronavirus pandemic, and initiated the gradual return to live performance through livestreaming and broadcasting from an empty Wigmore Hall in a landmark series in June 2020.

John has been honoured by heads of state and academic institutions. In 2022 he was awarded a CBE, in 2013 an OBE, and in 2015 was made a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland by the President of Finland. John has also received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art and the Order of the Star of Italy. In 2016 he was awarded the German Order of Merit, Germany’s highest civilian honour. He is a recipient of Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (2006), Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music (2012), Honorary Fellowship of the Guildhall School (2015), and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (2016). John was awarded the Heidelberger Frühling Music Award in 2019, and was also presented with the Musicians’ Company Cobbett Medal for chamber music.

John joined the RPS Board of Trustees in 2007, and became its Chair in 2010.