Artist Management

What makes a good artist manager and top tips on securing management

By HarrisonParrott Foundation

Jess Gillam saxophoneHarrisonParrott Foundation

Jess Gillam

An artist needs a manager who is willing to say no, and for me, someone who is conscious of the fact that I’m in the early stages of my career. I’m at a nurturing stage at this point and I need a manager who can help me to balance working out the best time do things, taking up amazing offers and developing as a musician. 

Jess Gillam & Jess Gillam Ensemble - Howard: Dappled Light album video trailer

Patricia Kopatchinskaja violinistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

A manager is the interface between the artist and the concert organisers. To be successful they have to have a complete understanding and believe in the artist’s aims and possibilities. In my case, they have to make my mission their mission, which is more difficult than managing an artist who only plays mainstream repertoire in a normal way. 

What's it like being acclaimed violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Find out in this stream of consciousness.

Stephen Hough pianistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Stephen Hough

It isn’t just about selling a diary – it’s a human relationship. A manager has to protect the mental health of their artists. It’s good to be busy, but bad to be too busy. Sometimes when we’re on a high we accept more than we should. It’s important for managers to keep that in mind. They have to say, ​‘Today you don’t mind playing in Tokyo one night, Sydney the next and then Vienna and Helsinki, but when it comes to that week you will regret it.

Istvan Vardai cellistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Ten attributes of a top agent:
Empathy
Faith in the artistic mission 
Strategic thinking
Understanding of change 
Business savvy
Honesty
Calm in a crisis 
Adaptability
Protectiveness
Ability to say no 

Sayaka Shoji violinistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Looking for Artist Management?

Start by asking the fundamental question: what kind of artist do you want to be? This will dictate the style of management you need. Do you want someone who will engage with and sometimes challenge you regarding all areas of your activity (social media, interest in music education, causes and musicological projects, for example); or management who will mainly provide you with performance opportunities?

Marie-Ange Nguci pianistHarrisonParrott Foundation

Think carefully about the materials you want a prospective manager to look through and listen to. Websites are still important. Yours doesn’t need to be fancy, but it should give a sense of the kind of artist you are, so give some thought to what you include (or leave out). It’s vital that your calendar of performances is up to date.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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