John Tooley (1924–2020)

We were saddened to learn of the death on 18 March 2020 of Sir John Tooley, a longstanding and highly-regarded member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Advisory Council and a leading figure in British music administration for many decades.

Having abandoned plans to be a professional singer and turned to music management, John Tooley was appointed Secretary of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1952. Three years later he was invited by Sir David Webster to join the staff of the Royal Opera House, becoming Assistant General Administrator in 1960 and succeeding Sir David in 1970 as General Administrator (latterly re-titled General Director). He received a knighthood in 1979. He retired from the Royal Opera House in 1988 and in later years was a trustee of the Britten-Pears Foundation and a director of the Britten Estate as well as, amongst other organisations, Welsh National Opera, the Walton Trust and the Southbank Centre. He was also chairman of the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation and the Sidney Nolan Trust.