MA 30 Profiles in Courage: Anthony Fogg
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Taking charge of the artistic administration of the Boston Symphony Orchestra would seem job enough, especially with former Music Director James Levine’s frequent absences, but Anthony Fogg was never one for just fulfilling the job description. Always going the extra mile—and then some—over the course of his 20 years with the BSO, he has been involved with the development of new talent and new repertoire, while keeping a cool head under pressure and winning himself a reputation as one of the good guys.
He is unusual among administrators in being a musician of professional rank, having trained as a pianist at the Brazilian Academy of Music in São Paulo and at the University of Sydney. He was born in Australia and took American citizenship in 2007. During his time as head of programming for ABC Concerts (1986–94), the classical music arm of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he also served as the artistic director and pianist of leading contemporary music ensemble The Seymour Group. He performed as a soloist with the major orchestras in Australia and, since becoming artistic administrator of the BSO in 1994, has continued to play, collaborating regularly with members of the orchestra.
Being a musician while wearing a manager’s hat has helped him win the respect of the musicians, who see him as walking the walk, not just talking the talk. His encyclopedic knowledge of the repertoire has also impressed. He has been deeply involved with the Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Fellowship program, is a strong champion of contemporary composers, has served on funding panels such as the Aaron Copland Fund and the Pew Charitable Trust, served as an advisor to the New England Conservatory, and is a frequent adjudicator for national and international competitions and scholarships. The French government has made him a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for services to French music and culture.
A man who wears his honors lightly, Fogg also enjoys a keen sense of humor. Appearing at the San Francisco Symphony’s American Orchestra Forum in 2011, he was asked what was the most creative part of his job. “Balancing the budget,” he replied. “No really, it’s finding that opportunity or circumstance to allow an artist to do something they’ve always wanted to do.”