Concerts Assistant
Britten Sinfonia

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Pippa R

00:00:01 My name’s Pippa R and I’m Concert Assistant with the Britten Sinfonia. It is quite a varied job because every project is very different. We do – we vary from performing with five musicians to thirty-five, sometimes even more than that. I know I’m only getting used to the organisational side of things because I was trained as a violinist, so it’s a real eye-opener as to how – how much there is behind the scenes with every concert.

00:00:28 I first got interested in music because my parents are very keen amateur musicians, and they used to take me along to concerts, and I think I started nagging my parents to start playing the violin when I was about six. And I don’t think they could quite face the trauma of being a violinist, because it’s quite – painful. So they put me on piano, which I hated, when I was about six, I really wanted to play the violin and I nagged them and I think they could see that I was so stubborn that I got my own way. So when I was 8 I started the violin and it was very much my choice, which really had an impact on my enjoyment.

00:01:03 I guess music was a very big part of my school life. I was in a very small primary school, I was very lucky, it was a very sheltered primary school, and there weren’t many who played music and I loved it, so they were very encouraging, they played – made me play on my own in Assembly, which for some reason I enjoyed doing. Maybe probably because they made me do it so much that I got over the – kind of the fear of playing.

00:01:26 All through primary school and secondary school I had very very supportive parents, very sheltered upbringing. My Dad – my Dad was a doctor, he was very – very studious, very hard-working, so I had that kind of inspiration when I was growing up, and then he became ill when I was about 11. So I got very angry and very – I was in a very very very pressurised school where fifty percent went to Oxbridge. And then as he got more ill I got angrier with how I guess sheltered everybody else was. And so music was the one thing I could kind of bluff my way through I guess. I think music gave me the – yeah the emotional support and the – obviously my family were grieving, so I got that from friends. Because we were just ten in a department in my year, so we really knew each other inside out, and that’s where I think the kind of focus on the music came from.

00:02:22 I got very angry with the pressure put on us so young, and I kind of kicked against that and thought no, I don’t want to be a part of Academia, I don’t want to go to Oxbridge, I don’t want to do that. Which I realise now is very spoilt, being in that school – a lot of people would kill to be in that kind of environment, but I kicked against it.

00:02:38 And then I went to Music College, and I think the main problem with Music College, with anything that’s so focused, is if you didn’t make it as a musician, you failed. And I had four years of that – I did four years at music college, got my undergrad, got my Bachelor of Music, and then I found a teacher in Italy, and studied privately, which was the real test. I was working in a pub to make ends meet, getting home about three, four in the morning and then trying to find the motivation to practice, which is probably where it all dwindled. And I just realised there was more to life than being a musician, and I think having that step back from the high pressure, you have to be a musician or you’re a failure, put that in perspective.

00:03:21 Still a part of me, because I did 15 years intensive playing the violin, a part of me is still – maybe I’ve made a mistake. But I think the most important thing is that I made the decision at 24, 25, I had to start again technically with my teacher to go back to studying, and I felt it was too late, which I’m now realising now is not true. I know people who are in their early thirties who’ve gone back to Music College to do an undergrad, so it’s never too late, but I don’t know – I’m enjoying this for now. I’ve decided to not be too deciding what I want to do in the future, because you never know how life changes and your priorities change.

00:04:00 ENDS

Pippa was passionate about playing the violin from an early age and was a confident performer at school. Her father’s illness led her to re-appraise what she wanted from life and she decided against an Oxbridge education, deciding instead to pursue her love of music. She organises concerts for Britten Sinfonia “…and I just realised that there was more to life than being a musician”.

More information about Conference and exhibition managers and organisers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

36%  male 
64%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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? Job holders in this unit group manage, organise and coordinate business conferences, exhibitions and similar events.
There are no formal academic entry requirements, although entrants typically possess GCSEs/S grades, A levels/H grades, a BTEC/SQA award or equivalent qualifications. Professional qualifications are available and may be required by some employers. Off- and-on-the-job training is available.
  • Discusses conference and exhibition requirements with clients and advises on facilities;
  • Develops proposal for the event, and presents proposal to client;
  • Allocates exhibition space to exhibitors;
  • Plans work schedules, assigns tasks, and co-ordinates the activities of designers, crafts persons, technical staff, caterers and other events staff;
  • Liaises closely with venue staff to ensure smooth running of the event;
  • Ensures that Health and Safety and other statutory regulations are met.
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