Creative Leadership: Contrasting Musical and Military Command and the Shared Qualities of Great Leadership

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LORD DANNATT 2The link between music and the military undoubtedly predates historical record, and both depend on effective leadership to perform their respective functions. It is therefore with great pleasure that RUSI will host members of the prestigious Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder and Lord Dannatt for a musical performance and talk on creative Leadership in Music and in the Military.

Long before the emergence of the annotated military march in the 16th century, music and the military have appeared side-by-side, whether in the shape of compositions conveying historical anecdotes of bygone battles or in the shape of organizing battle formations for troops on the ground. Both require effective leadership. However, truly inspired leadership is about much more than the issuing of orders through chains of hierarchy. Down the ages, great leaders in both fields have displayed an understanding of the motivation and command which enables them to succeed where others fail.

Discussing the importance of leadership in the militSir Mark Elder SMALLary and in music, RUSI is proud to welcome Sir Mark Elder, Music Director of Hallé Orchestra and Lord Dannatt, retired British Army officer and incumbent Constable of the Tower of London. Both Sir Mark and Lord Dannatt have respectively excelled in the fields of music and defence, Sir Mark having performed in prestigious venues around the world and held the position of Music Director at the Hallé since 1999, Lord Dannatt having received multiple military awards across his long career in the Army, retiring from the position of Chief of General Staff in 2009 to assume post as the Constable of the Tower. They will talk on the subject of creative leadership, outlining the breadth of skills and flexibility needed to be an effective leader:  different people with different skills needing to be handled and motivated differently in order to create the desired result.

Sir Mark will talk about his experience and how great music is brought to life by employing understanding of the structure and meaning of compositions to guide the musicians under his direct command to give a great performance. In his view, the quality of leadership is portrayed in musical performance: conductors don’t make any sound, needing others to do it for them. It is the ultimate example of direct command.’

Similarly Lord Dannatt will outline his experience and understanding of the leadership qualities which inspire performance in the realm of strategic affairs and how this compares and contrasts to the leadership traits identified from the field of music.

Encompassed in this event, RUSI will be hosting a musical duet from the Hallé, performing selected pieces centered on conflict and the military featuring Gareth Small, lead Trumpet for the Hallé. Gareth has developed his musical skills over a number of years, previously playing in the National Youth Brass Band, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, the Royal Academy of Music before joining the Hallé. He has given solo recitals and masterclasses all over the world and has featured on numerous movie soundtracks and played on numerous CDs: notably Return of the King (from The Lord of the Rings), Ti Adoro for Luciano Pavarotti and Music of the Spheres for Mike Oldfield.

For more information about this event, please contact Duncan Rogers at

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