This week, we speak to William Norris in the OAE office…

William NorrisWhat’s your role in the OAE office?

I’m the Communications Director. At a basic level it’s my job to make sure that we maximise ticket sales for our concerts in London. But really it’s about a lot more than this – looking after the ‘brand’ of the orchestra, enhancing the audiences experience, attracting different kinds of audience, and thinking about the orchestras public profile and press coverage.

What does your typical day involve?

There’s no typical day which is one of the reasons I enjoy my job. But an average day might include preparing sales figures, coordinating mailings, working with our designer, booking adverts, trying to avoid sales calls, writing copy, working on our social networking sites, commissioning programme notes, and adding to the large piles of paper which cover my desk.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

I think you’re supposed to say your partners/children’s but since I have neither no one number springs to mind…These question are getting very personal suddenly! I quite often call my own so I can find my phone…

What – or where – is perfection?

I’m not sure there is such a thing. A glass of wine outside on a balmy summers evening comes pretty close though.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

I’m really not sure I have one. I usually like the underdog. Like the cute but rather hapless aliens in Toy Story.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?


Ok, no really.

A year ago I probably would have said Barack Obama. I wish I had his public speaking skills! Nowadays I’m going to say Lord Sugar, because apparently, according the BBC, he’s ‘Britain’s most belligerent boss’ and I think I’d like to give him a run for his money…

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?

I’d like that kind of innate confidence that some people have.

What do you fear the most?

That vague feeling that what we’re all doing here on this little rock floating in the middle of space is a bit meaningless and pointless.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Everyone is different.  And that’s ok.

What was the first album you ever bought?

Paul Simon – Graceland. (thank goodness you didn’t ask about the first single, that was a *lot* more embarrassing)

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?

Oh it changes all the time. Currently I think it might be Wonderful Life by Hurts

Which OAE concert are you most looking forward to in 2010-2011?

Probably the Mahler/Liszt/Wagner concert in January 2011. Love hearing the OAE explore new stuff like that, it always has amazing results.

What’s been the highlight of your time at OAE so far?

This is a tough question. I think probably the Night Shift of the Roundhouse, partly because it’s a project close to my heart, and it was amazing to see that venue packed with a very different audience listening to Beethoven.

I think a very close second would be going on tour to Turin and Budapest with the OAE and Simon Rattle though, particularly as we had a charter plane and I got to sit in the cockpit as we landed at Gatwick!