Members of the HarrisonParrott team offer their perspectives on being part of the family
Lorna Aizlewood, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel
We are open to risks and don’t only do things for profit. This might seem dangerous, but our success, longevity and financial security come from the fact that we give our artists something they can’t find elsewhere. Many of them are amazingly creative and we support them with the resources they need to fulfil this creativity.
You need many different skills to make one big successful team, and our staff come from a variety of backgrounds. Jasper has a fundamental belief in the power of the arts, which is why he’s so protective of our artists’ integrity, a key part of our success. His formidable personality and vision have kept us going over 50 years, but they are also built into the company, ensuring it will continue for at least another 50 years.
Jane Brown, Director, Artist Management
HP artists all have some sort of different dimension, whether in their programming or playing. It involves absolute self-belief and a passion for their way of doing things, which they can support with good reasons, rather than just doing things carelessly. They have an extraordinary integrity and it’s wonderful to work with that.
When we sign artists, we don’t just think about whether they ‘fit in’ to the musical landscape. We think about how they might benefit the industry more widely – we would rather change the industry to fit the person than the other way around. Jasper has a completely open mind and is interested in everything, even if it comes completely out of left field. He has fantastic instincts and a nose for what is right for us, before it has even happened.
Rafi Gokay Wol, Director & Head of Tours
The people here may have changed over 50 years, but the ethos and vision have remained the same. There is an emphasis on creativity and pushing boundaries – with new compositions, inventive programming and artists interacting with their audiences. We’re always trying to find projects to advance the art world. We take projects based on our own creative conviction about them – each one has a special element. We don’t always know whether something will sell but if we’re convinced by it from a creative point of view that propels us.
Lydia Connolly, Director
From the beginning, Jasper and Terry wanted to do things differently. That’s why they were kicked out of Ibbs and Tillett. They weren’t just going to sit and wait for the phone to ring – they wanted to go out and make things happen. That was the spirit right from the start: they were trailblazers and as a company we continue to blaze.
Our partnerships with artists have always been the backbone of the company, with all our activities developing organically from that. I’m never happier than when I’m in conversation with an artist, working on a strategy or developing a new agenda. It’s all about creative thinking and joining up the dots. We don’t try to put artists into easily manageable boxes but relish the fact that they’re complicated. We tailor whatever we do to them and try to be flexible. We’re not a letter box, just passing on enquiries. We take in every idea and think about it carefully.
It’s more than a service, making things run smoothly: we’re here to lead artistically, to partner and challenge. That makes it very labour intensive, but I don’t believe in doing things half-heartedly, which is a characteristic of everyone at HP. When I look back, I want to feel that I made a positive difference to the artists I’m working with, to my colleagues and to the young people coming into the industry.
Ed Milner, Associate Director, Artist Management
The HP style is about speed, efficiency and communication – I’ve had that said to me many times. We try never to leave an email unanswered. We have a reputation for being especially quick in cancellations: in that situation, our job is to help the promoters and they’re more likely to come to us to book our artists if we can.
Everyone in the company has their own style, within what is a passionate and creative ethos. If you grow up here, you can see how the senior managers all work in different ways and it’s for you to decide which feels most natural and through that you develop your own personal style. Jasper has a phenomenal knowledge of the industry, music and everything beyond music, and connects these things laterally. His sales style is wonderfully passionate. Anyone who sells needs to be believed and people see Jasper’s real passion for what he does, which makes him incredibly successful.
I’ve grown up in this company over the last 13 years, and as a boss and mentor Linda, who left the company earlier this year, was a wonderful person to learn from – someone who has been in the industry so long and is so revered. She was kind, giving, strong, firm and occasionally strict. She had time for everyone and always wanted to talk about life as well – not just about the business and the job. This world is all about personal relationships and treating colleagues – inside the company and out – as people rather than just professional contacts.
Ian Giddons, Chief Financial Officer
When I joined the company in 1997 there were around 32 people, and now we have around 60 in London, and offices in Germany and France. It has transitioned from being a small to a medium-sized – but still family – business. The presence of Jasper is a key part of that, leading the company as its founder, and continuing to mould the company with his vision and his ability to attract people who share and support that vision.
There have been times when the pace of change has seemed slower and others when it’s been faster – at the moment we’re looking at different business areas and the financial ramifications of all of those. We take risks, but calculated risks and it’s not part of our culture to act rashly. We are adapting to be in the best place for the business of the future.
Tuğçe Tez, Associate Director
Since I first stepped into the HP offices at Penzance Place in August 2008, I have learnt from Jasper that nothing is impossible and that one should keep dreaming and aiming higher. Curiosity for music, art, literature, culture keeps him going – he is constantly looking for new ideas and experiences to feed his brain and soul – and that attitude influences everything the company does. Our 50th anniversary is a chance to celebrate the immense collective experience and knowledge here and the friendships that we have built around the world. I am proud to have been part of this big family for the last decade.
Yasemin Kandemiroglu, Manager: Artists, Tours & International Projects
HP is a special place, with at least three generations of staff taking pride in our culture of teamwork, trust, sharing and hard work. It is wonderful to be able to call it a job, supporting artists and arts institutions in their dreams, as an active part of the creative process. In the touring department, we travel around the world making sure that everything goes smoothly and most of the time we feel at home because our teams become our families.
I have so many precious memories. I won’t ever forget watching Waiting for Godot at the Edinburgh Festival with Krystian Zimerman or getting lost on the way into the auditorium in Hong Kong while touring English National Ballet and Akram Khan’s Giselle. Suddenly ‘Albrecht’ appeared and took me into the wings, from where I watched his last duet with Giselle. I once shared a taxi from Harbiye down to the Bosphorus with Carlos Acosta and he put his sunglasses on, reclined in his seat, turned to me with a big smile and said, ‘Yasemin, I love my job.’ I can’t agree more!
Ariane Levy-Künstler, Associate Director
I never thought of becoming an artist manager – it was Jasper who convinced me to attempt the adventure. Coming from a promoter background, I quickly realised that the jobs are not so different – it is all about making projects happen. I am proud to collaborate with remarkable artists every day, making their dreams come true.
I’ve enjoyed working on so many exciting bold, creative projects. The latest was Stockhausen’s Donnerstag aus Licht with Maxime Pascal and his ensemble Le Balcon, which made its London debut in this gigantic piece. It had only been performed once before in London, in 1985 – with 200 people on stage, it’s a challenge. But after years of work, months of preparation and weeks of rehearsal, we succeeded, and the profound experience will remain in our memories forever.
At HP you can never leave the office in peace because there is always something else to do, and it is impossible to turn off your phone at any time, but it is all worth it.
Everyone here is reliable and loyal – that’s how we deal with our artists and our promoters. We’re honest, which is valued in the business. We must be one of the youngest agencies when it comes to staff – we have some senior people, but the average is young, which is remarkable: young people have a different view of the world and of classical music, which is needed.
What makes HP special is how much we all care about the business of classical music. We want our artists to have the careers that suit their individual needs. That’s not just about booking dates and making money, it’s about respecting work – life balance, their families and artistic goals. It means working hard to deliver tours in a competitive market and developing groundbreaking projects, for example when I worked on the consultancy to promote Polish music in the UK: we tied that in with the International Piano Series to create a season-long Chopin festival. Bringing wonderful music to a wider audience is why we are all here.
Yue Jiang, Manager
One of the many things I’m proud of at HP is that we never compromise on artistic integrity or quality, whether with artists, tours or any of the projects we work on, regardless of changing fashions and environments. That’s because we truly believe in the arts. I’m grateful to Jasper, Rafi and all my colleagues for creating such an amazing home, where we all have a strong sense of belonging.
Shirley Thomson, Director, Vocal & Opera
One of the things that attracted me to HP was the idea of having senior colleagues like Jasper, Linda and Lydia, who had been in the business a long time and had a wealth of experience on which I could draw. HP Vocal is, I am assured, respected in the business not only because of the quality of the artists we represent, but also because we have integrity. We will fight our artists’ corner whenever that’s required, but we’re honest and straightforward.
Ian Stones, Associate Director, Vocal
HarrisonParrott will venture to creative places which many other agencies wouldn’t consider viable – in every sense. One example is soprano Barbara Hannigan, who has become one of the world’s most inspired cultural leaders due not only to her outstanding talents but also to the passion, commitment and imagination of Jasper. His enthusiasm for new ideas is as distinctive today as it was in 1969, and in artistic terms is without a price. Within HP there is also a prevalent willingness to embrace the curatorial culture and a spirit of collaboration across the teams, which is to the benefit of the artists.
Moema Parrott, President (HP Paris), CEO Polyarts, Director New Business
The enormity of our 50 years blows my mind – the consistent quality that Jasper, Terry, Lydia and Linda have overseen, and their passion, talent and expertise in creating a company culture that really cares about the artists and ensuring that this reigns above all in the way business is done.
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