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David Jones, Serious

Director, Serious

Serious is a creative producer of international music, and David is one of the founding directors. Responsible for a wide range of festivals, concerts and special events, the company works with artists and festivals in Britain and internationally. David holds long-standing artistic relationships with artists as diverse as Kronos Quartet, Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter and Woodkid.

Within Serious, he is Contemporary Music Programmer at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Director of K-Music, the annual London Festival of Korean Music. He jointly created and developed the London Jazz Festival, which celebrated its 25th birthday last year, and has a particular interest in events that explore international and cross-media ideas, producing the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music and shaping the BT River of Music Olympic live music programme.

Quick fire questions with David

What is your name and your profession?

David Jones – I’m one of the directors of Serious.

We created and produce the EFG London Jazz Festival, and work in adventurous live music across Britain and Ireland.

When did you first take up music/ enter the music industry?

I was a treble singer when I was a young boy but lost interest when my voice broke. I put on benefit concerts for Friends of the Earth and Amnesty when I was at school, and realised I loved the process of bringing audiences together, so I put on the first concerts by bands ranging from The Michael Nyman Band to This Heat. I couldn’t imagine how you could actually earn a living doing this, so by a roundabout route I ended up in touring theatre.

How did you get to where you are now in your career?

I learned a lot in theatre about structure and about how to create a successful tour, but I wanted to go to concerts at night, rather than plays, and finally, I was asked at almost no notice to programme the Bloomsbury Festival. The artists I booked for that, like Penguin Cafe and Peter Hammill, asked me to organise more shows, and the rest is history.

What do you like best about your job?

The joy of working with musicians who have a great idea, and helping that idea come to fruition.

What would you say is the toughest challenge for musicians in 2018?

Many of the old support structures have collapsed. Companies like Serious and the people who support us try and create new ways forward, but too often I hear people telling musicians to “invest in their career”, and when you look closely, that’s just a euphemism for “do everything for nothing”.

If you had one piece of advice for musicians, what would it be?

Hang onto the things that make you different to everyone else.

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