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David Burke

BA Management and Music (1996)


At 80 years old, London Philharmonic Orchestra is recognised today as one of the best orchestras on the international stage. The LPO is the resident orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, and has a long history of recording and broadcasting, as well as working with the UK and Hollywood film industries. David Burke was the first student to study joint honours Management and Music at Royal Holloway. After working with the English Touring Opera for seven years, he is currently the General Manager and Finance Director at the LPO.

"When choosing a university, I wanted to be near London, and Royal Holloway's campus feel really appealed to me. I knew both departments were highly regarded, and when I visited on an Open Day I just fell in love with the place.

"My time at Royal Holloway was incredible. I studied composition with John Woolrich, clarinet with Nicholas Cox, and innovation with Sir Alec Reed. As an 18-year-old from Yorkshire this opened up a whole new world to me. Within minutes of walking into my first-year room at the top of Williamson Block I had made friendships so strong that I still keep in touch with many of them 18 years on.

"Looking back, I was always going to do the type of job I do now, but when I applied to university I was much less clear. My studies enabled me to gain a greater understanding of all the basics, from marketing to international finance, historic analysis to performance practice. Whether it is appreciating the detail of the work of our musicians, or statistical analysis of the latest ticket information, I probably use 90 percent of what I learnt on a daily basis.

"My advice if you want to work in the arts industry is to be generous with your time and take every opportunity with both hands. At present, there is a trend within the arts industry for unpaid internships, about which I have very conflicting feelings, though the good ones offer a fantastic opportunity to gain first hand experience of how complex arts organisations work, which will really make you stand out when you are applying for jobs. I can only talk through my own experiences, and I managed to get a lot of these whilst I was still studying, through managing the big band, listening to the insights of guest business lecturers, helping to produce plays and my scholarship to Dartington (second year). I have been very lucky but that is partly because I worked hard to be in the right place at the right time, and that started with choosing Royal Holloway."

     David Burke

"My time at Royal Holloway was incredible. I probably use 90% of what I learned on a daily basis."



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