|Founded||2012 , London|
Maestro Arts is a music management company and consultancy working across all art forms. Based in London, it was founded in 2012 by Joeske and Rachel van Walsum to create and support multidisciplinary collaborations and new work.
Joeske van Walsum, born in the Netherlands in 1949, studied flute at the Royal College of Music. He settled in London in the early 1970s where he began managing musicians. Van Walsum Management (VWM) evolved into an international music management company with, at its peak, 55 performers on its books and a staff of 35. The agency’s list of clients included the soloists Mitsuko Uchida and Yuri Bashmet and the conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Michael Tilson Thomas. Van Walsum oversaw Uchida’s performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart complete piano concertos, presented worldwide in the mid-1980s, the Borodin Quartet’s cycles of Dmitri Shostakovich string quartets and Salonen’s Ligeti project with the Philharmonia Orchestra. He served as Chairman of the British Association of Concert Agents (BACA) in the early 1990s and oversaw its relaunch in 1996 as the International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA). He also started IAMA’s series of annual conferences.
After studying music at the Durham University, Rachel van Walsum (née Bostock, b.1965) joined the BBC World Service, where she became a studio manager. She later worked for the Aldeburgh Festival and served as Head of Public Affairs at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra before joining VWM in 1995. From 2003 to 2005 she was Deputy Chair of IAMA and, since 2015, has been Chair of the World Heart Beat Music Academy, a charity dedicated to music education for young people. In 2005 she became VWM’s Managing Director while her husband, Joeske van Walsum, assumed a new role as Chairman.
In September 2008 Stephen Wright, founder of IMG Artists Europe, became Chairman and owner of Van Walsum Management, with Rachel van Walsum remaining as Managing Director and Joeske van Walsum as consultant. In 2009, they announced their decision to “leave the agency business altogether” and did so in 2010, spending that year crossing Europe by boat from their home in Putney, London, to Istanbul. In the early summer of 2011, while listening to classical recordings during a long car journey, Joeske van Walsum decided that it was time to return to arts management: “It brought home how essential music is as food and I realised how I still totally love the artist management business,” he recalled.
Maestro Arts launched in May 2012 with Rachel van Walsum as Managing Director, Joeske van Walsum as Director and former VWM manager Jordi Martín Mont among its staff. It was conceived as a boutique business, to represent classical musicians, visual artists, designers and theatre directors, while also originating and developing multidisciplinary collaborative projects.
The initial client list included the conductors Eivind Aadland, François-Xavier Roth, Benjamin Shwartz, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Ilan Volkov, designer and opera director Patrick Kinmonth and visual artists Alexander Polzin, Joan Dubique and Claude Troin. The company’s list of conductors now spans both emerging artists such as Bassem Aikiki and George Jackson and established artists such as Richard Farnes, Kazushi Ōno and François-Xavier Roth.
Myriam Blundell and Thomas Hull joined in June 2016, as Directors of Visual Arts and Artist Management respectively. Hull's arrival followed the closure of Ingpen & Williams and he brought with him artists including pianists Paul Lewis (pianist)|Paul Lewis and Pavel Kolesnikov, violist Lawrence Power, tenor Allan Clayton and the Elias String Quartet. Jordi Martín Mont was promoted to Director at the same time and Eric Denut joined in June 2018 to lead its Interdisciplinary Projects and Touring.
The company today represents 48 artists and employs a staff of 14. 
According to its website, Maestro Arts advocates “the integration of multidisciplinary cultural endeavour”. For example, the Teatro Real Madrid commissioned Alexander Polzin to make sculptures for its productions of Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico (2013) and Richard Wagner|Wagner’s Lohengrin (opera) (2014). These projects led to Polzin’s debut as stage director with Ludwig van Beethoven Fidelio for the Tiroler Festspiele Erl (2014), and engagements as director of, among others, the world premiere of Mauricio Sotelo’s El público (Teatro Real Madrid, 2015) and Giuseppe VerdiFalstaff (opera) (L’Opéra des Nations, Geneva, 2016).
Filmmaker and director Ralf Pleger, who signed to Maestro Arts in 2018, collaborated with Polzin as designer of a new production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde for La Monnaie Munt, Brussels (2019). De Standaard hailed Pleger and Polzin’s staging as a “Tristan und Isolde that will continue to resonate for a long time”. Love in Fragments, a programme of visual arts, dance, music and theatre, was devised by Polzin and choreographer Sommer Ulrickson in partnership with violinist Gergana Gergova and cellist Alban Gerhardt. The project explores the nature of human attraction from different perspectives, probing the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of love.
Recent or forthcoming interdisciplinary projects include Voices at the End, a collaboration between Piano Circus, the composer John Psathas and the director Sjaron Minailo; visual artist William Kentridge’s Paper Music song-and-film project with the composer Philip Miller and vocalist Joanna Dudley; François Girard and John Corigliano’s The Red Violin (soundtrack) in concert; Alexander Polzin and Sommer Ulrickson’s The Art of Being Human with Phantasm; and semi-staged treatments of Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges and L'heure espagnole, directed by James Bonas with animations by Grégoire Pont.Pont also created an animation for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art based on Marc-André Dalbavie’s flute concerto performed by Emmanuel Pahud.
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