John Gilhooly OBE
“The RPS has a crucial role to play in securing the future of classical music in this country, as an advocate and champion for musicians and the music industry, especially at a time when public funding for the arts will be under some considerable pressure. If you share our vision for music please support the Society.”
John Gilhooly became Director of Wigmore Hall in 2005, making him, then, the youngest leader of any of the world’s great concert halls. He had been Executive Director of Wigmore Hall since December 2000 and has overseen the artistic, financial and administrative transformation of the Hall over the past 16 years. His tenure has produced record box office returns and the Hall’s highest ever membership levels and annual fundraising.
As Artistic Director of Wigmore Hall, he programmes the largest chamber music and song series in the world, and he is noted for his commitment to outstanding emerging artists, diversity and contemporary music. John Gilhooly has been honoured by heads of state and academic institutions. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 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 prestigious Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, and the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere), awarded by the President of Italy. In 2016 he was awarded the German Order of Merit, which is 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 Gilhooly undertakes a huge amount of voluntary and charitable work in the music sector and beyond. In July 2010, he was elected Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society (one of the oldest music societies in the world), and he led the Society’s Bicentenary celebrations, on both sides of the Atlantic, in 2013. He is also Chairman of Mahogany Opera Group. He is a trustee of the Susan Chilcott Scholarship and the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, and is a member of the Advisory Council for London Music Masters. He is a Patron of the performing arts organisation Irish Heritage and the CAVATINA Music Trust, and is also a Patron and an active fundraiser of the refurbishment project for Corpus Christi Church, Covent Garden, the national Catholic Church for those working in the performing arts.
In December 2013, Musical America named him as one of the most influential arts leaders in the international music world. In January 2016, John Gilhooly was named as one of Britain’s 500 most influential people by The Sunday Times / Debrett’s. In April 2016, he played a major part in co-ordinating the London activities for the commemoration of the 1916 rising, celebrations which further enhanced Ireland’s reputation for cultural excellence over the past century in London.
John has twice been named in ‘London’s Top 100 Opinion Makers’ by Time Out magazine, and was listed in the Evening Standard’s ‘Most Influential’ list in 2011, 14, 15 and 16. He is a frequent public speaker and well-known radio and media commentator, and is regularly invited to take part in international competition juries such as BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Das Lied Competition in Berlin, the Lyon International Chamber Music Competition (CIMCL), the Cologne International Music Competition (Internationaler Musikwettbewerb Köln) and the Cité de la Musique String Quartet Biennial (Biennale de Quatuors à cordes) in Paris.
John Gilhooly’s tenure at Wigmore Hall has also seen the success of three capital appeals, the establishment of an endowment fund, and over £50 million raised for capital and artistic projects under his leadership. In 2004 he managed the refurbishment of the Hall, and in 2006 led the acquisition of a 250-year lease. In 2015 he led an additional refurbishment of the Hall’s backstage and broadcast areas. John Gilhooly also established the Hall’s highly regarded CD label ‘Wigmore Hall Live’ (named Gramophone’s record label of the year 2011). He read History and Political Science at University College Dublin. In addition to his academic studies, he pursued vocal studies, as a tenor, at the Dublin City College of Music and the Leinster School of Music, under Veronica Dunne.
John Gilhooly OBE, Hon FRAM, Hon RCM, Hon FGS, Hon FRIAM was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1973.
Daniel Barenboim, RPS Gold Medal 2007: Classical music will not survive unless we change our attitude and make it something that is essential to our lives. Join the RPS if you believe in the future of music.
DID YOU KNOW?
1830: Midsummer Night’s Dream is ‘very beautiful, and encored, but it is awfully, fearfully difficult, so much so that last Saturday morning Mendelssohn was SEVEN hours rehearsing.’