Helen Sykes – ABO – Artist Manager of the Year Award 2019

Helen Sykes is recently awarded Artist Manager of the Year


The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) hosts an awards ceremony to recognise those who contribute to the success of the UK’s classical music industry.

The judging panel had more names to consider than ever before. The artist manager who finally received the nod did so on the basis that her work in 2019 not only benefited artist managers and their artists in the UK and abroad, but a host of touring British and international orchestras. The issue here…is Brexit.

Ever since the 2016 referendum the International Artist Managers’s Association has offered its members regular technical and practical advice with regard to any brand of Brexit – hard, soft or anything in between. Crucial information.

IAMA has worked alongside the ABO in keeping up-to-date through all the twists and turns of the Brexit drama. It’s required constant vigilance as to what government has been saying and what the creative industries sector in general has been doing. From the start, our award winner has volunteered her time and expertise in this cause as chair of IAMA’s Brexit committee. Her legal background has been exceptionally useful.

2019 was an especially difficult year, given the extreme volatility of the state of play on Brexit…including not one but two missed deadlines for Britain’s EU departure. I hardly need rehearse in this room all the fine detail involved in trying to ensure that touring across borders continues with as little inconvenience as possible after the UK’s departure from the EU – from visa procedures to the transport of instruments and equipment. The stream of advice from our award-winner and her team has been unfailingly to the point.

Plenty of challenges still lie ahead, but for the moment let’s celebrate the achievements in 2019 of our ABO/Classical Music Artist Manager of the Year…

…Helen Sykes.


Find out more about the ABO/Classical Music Awards