Classical Music

The Association of British Orchestras Announces New CEO

Judith Webster will assume the role as of November 14, 2022


Judith Webster succeeds Mark Pemberton in the role of CEO with the Association of British Orchestras (ABO). Pemberton left the ABO on September 30, 2022, after a 15-year tenure.

For ten years, Judith Webster was the CEO of Music for Youth (MFY), a national music education charity that presents the annual MFY Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. She was working as a freelance Music Education Professional in January 2022 before accepting the CEO role at ABO.

Webster’s experience also includes developing engagement programs for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Sinfonietta, as well as designing and directing a “Creative Leadership” post-graduate diploma for the Royal College of Music.

“The opportunity to lead the ABO at this time is a perfect fit for me, combining as it does my passion for orchestras and my deep rooted commitment to embracing change and supporting innovation in all aspects of their work,” Webster said.

“I am indebted to Mark Pemberton and ABO colleagues for their tireless work in supporting the sector throughout the pandemic and look forward to working with ABO members and introducing new voices to the debate around how best to enable orchestras to thrive and build on the innovation of recent years,” she continued.

“Judith is an established and highly regarded colleague in the orchestral and music education sectors,” added ABO Chair, Simon Webb. “[She] has a deep understanding of orchestras and the full range of their work and I look forward to working with her as the ABO builds on Mark Pemberton’s excellent work and, under Judith’s leadership, works with our members to create a secure and flourishing future for British orchestras.”

Providing advice, support, and information to musicians of British orchestras, the ABO is a national collective representing the interests of the classical music industry throughout the UK. Its recent initiatives include collaborations with PRS Foundation and BBC Radio 3, and the “Find Your Way” program that offers training to future sector leaders.

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