Meet the team: Keiron Cooke

Tell us a little about your day-to-day role at AH
My day involves a lot of coffee and a lot of emails! I also do a lot of listening. Part of my role is vetting approaches from singers, not known to us, seeking representation. I spend a lot of time with headphones on, which makes it quite difficult for colleagues to get my attention!

What do you like most about your job?
I have to say travelling the world and working for and listening to great artists, don’t I? Well, all that is true, but I also adore my colleagues. They’re a terrific bunch of people, eclectic but hardworking and dedicated, and we laugh a lot!

Achievement (professional or personal) you’re most proud of?
Getting it right. I remember hearing for the first time singers like Louise Alder, Soraya Mafi, Christina Gansch, William Thomas and James Platt and thinking ‘yes, that’s it!’ They were all students at the time, but seeing their careers take off, and playing my part in it, gives me real satisfaction.

Mastermind specialist subject?
I’m from Aldeburgh and, after years working at The Red House surrounded his papers, letters, manuscripts, art etc., it would have to be the operas of Benjamin Britten. Ask me a question!

And when you’re not at work…?
My partner is an actor, so I see a lot of theatre. It’s also really nice to see a show as a bonafide punter, with no responsibility at all for the performance or performers!

Instruments played/voice?
I was a Choral Scholar at University, and singing was my life, and my route into music. I sang in dozens of choirs, and did quite a bit of solo work. I ‘retired from public life’ some time ago now though. I was a countertenor, which might surprise some. I probably still am!

What change would you most like to see take place in classical music?
It’s more a change in education, in that I’d like to see music (all music) feature more prominently on the curriculum. Children should be exposed to everything, sport, theatre, nature, literature etc., but music is sadly under-represented in schools.

Favourite food?
Nothing beats a really top-notch Full English. As soon as I’ve finished, I always think ‘I could eat that all again!’ And I’m very partial indeed to a vodka martini… But not with breakfast!

Favourite musical memory?
I have two from my time working at Glyndebourne. The first was hearing Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in Theodora. No singer has moved me quite so much as that, it was akin to having a religious experience. The other was the opening night of David McVicar’s Giulio Cesare with Sarah Connolly in the title role. We knew in rehearsal the production was going to be something very special, but the audience response on the first night was overwhelming, and quite beyond anything I’ve experienced anywhere since.

Keiron was born in Aldeburgh and studied Sociology at the University of Bath, where he was a Choral Scholar at Bath Abbey. His first job in music was as a teenager, working in the Box Office for Aldeburgh Music. After graduating, he worked as a Curator at the Britten-Pears Library for five years and was involved in many key Britten publications. He then worked at Glyndebourne as Assistant to the Director of Artistic Administration before joining the team at Askonas Holt in 2005.

From The Green Room Autumn 2019

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