Jasper Parrott pays tribute to his business partner, without whom the company would not exist
In many respects Terry and I couldn’t have been more different, a case of opposites attracting. He was seven years older and had far more life experience. I had had a privileged education, travelling a lot and meeting artists through my father, who was a diplomat. Terry left school at 15 and was totally self-made. He didn’t come from a privileged background and had little access to a cultural education, yet he developed a passion for classical music – for opera particularly – and was extremely talented in business. He got into the music industry through sheer persistence and tenacity. He had an instinct for the deal and how to make things work, a nose for talent and an amazing vitality. I learned an enormous amount from him.
Our respective talents balanced out and the partnership was very productive and exciting for both of us. Terry could attract people I wasn’t comfortable with and I could deal with people who didn’t care for him. When we started, I spoke German, adequate French and decent Italian. Terry wasn’t a linguist, but he could connect with anyone. It was a gift – he could have communicated with Martians.
We had a simple principle of unanimity regarding taking on new artists. Since we were excited by different people, when we did acquire a new artist, they would be the responsibility of one of us – we didn’t get too involved with the artists represented by the other.
After 17 years working together, Terry became restless and frustrated, and decided he wanted to set up his own smaller business. He thought I wanted to expand the business too much, including in new areas such as orchestra touring and promotions in which he was not interested. I tried to convince him not to leave, but he had also developed a strong interest in antiques and was running a business on the side. In 1988 we demerged and divided up the assets. I retained the right to the name HarrisonParrott, because it was a brand and I didn’t want the business focused on me. Terry meanwhile continued very successfully in partnership with his very able and gifted wife Helen Turner and represented a small roster of wonderful artists including Radu Lupu and Andras Schiff.
Terry died on 24 January 2017 and his too-early passing was much lamented – the music world lost one of its most original and talented characters.
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