‘Watching young people making music together reminds us of the importance and value of group activity in an age when finding ways of bringing people and societies together is so vitally important. Here is a process of culture which is not only life affirming, but at its best, life changing.’

Marshall Marcus

Marshall Marcus is a Director and Trustee of Sistema England.

Marshall is CEO of the European Union Youth Orchestra, Founder and Chairman of Sistema Europe, Founder of Sistema Africa and a member of Sistema Global’s Advisory Board. Previously, he advised and taught at Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar in Venezuela (where he founded the Orquesta Barocca Simón Bolívar at the request of Maestro José Antonio Abreu), lead Southbank Centre’s International Sistema Research Programme in London, worked with the British Council to develop new international youth orchestra networks, and advised and tutored the Eastern Partnership ‘I, Culture’ Orchestra composed of young musicians from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Poland and the Ukraine. Other recent projects include creating and developing ‘SERA’, an online global Sistema Evaluation and Research Archive, and teaching at the Neojiba project in Bahia, Brazil. During the previous two decades he was Head of Music at Southbank Centre (including London’s Royal Festival Hall), where he oversaw one of the largest music programmes in the world, and Chairman and then Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, an orchestra which he founded with colleagues in 1985.

Before these appointments Marshall enjoyed a 25 year career as an orchestral, solo and chamber violinist, recording and performing in more than 60 countries. He has worked regularly with major artists including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Roger Norrington, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Mariss Jansons, Mitsuko Uchida, Maurizio Pollini, Lang Lang and Cecilia Bartoli, and in an eclectic career has collaborated as a performer with musicians as varied as the Moscow Soloists, Baaba Maal and The Michael Nyman Band. Beginning in the 1970s, he was a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and then Concert-Master of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Caracas, Professor with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, leader of the Orchestra of St. Johns Smith Square, and Executive Director of Endymion Ensemble, as well as appearing as leader with numerous orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, the London Classical Players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Marshall also worked for many years in music education, designing projects at primary, secondary and university level, and teaching at institutions including Bristol University, The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal College of Music. He is a graduate of The Queen’s College Oxford in Philosophy and Experimental Psychology (where he was President of the Oxford Musical Club and Union, a Hastings Scholar and a Music Exhibitioner) and Trinity College Cambridge in the teaching of English. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Music. His violin teachers included Michael Vyner, Frederick Grinke, and Eta Cohen, with the latter of whom he studied for 10 years.

Board, judging panel and advisory appointments have included The Royal Philharmonic Society, The Association of British Orchestras, The British Association of Concert Halls, Kings Place Music Foundation, Sphinx UK, BBC Musician of the Year, and The Leverhulme Trust. Marshall is currently Vice Patron of the Kampala Music School Appeal, a member of the British Council’s Arts and Creative Economy Advisory group, an Honorary Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, an advisor forthe London Music Masters Programme and the UK’s National Orchestra For All (NOFA), and a member of the Art.Change.Europe Alliance. He has appeared regularly on BBC radio and TV during the last two decades, and has written for a number of publications including, principally, the UK Guardian and the website Chameleonworld. His blog currently focuses mainly on El Sistema comment, and has been accessed by people in over 100 countries.