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Wigmore Hall
Wigmore Hall  Description
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Description

David King - Senior House Manager

David King, hugely popular with all Wigmore regulars, has an infectious line in sending himself up, but don’t be fooled by it – underneath it all is a seriously committed administrator who understands full well the value of humour to diffuse pre-concert tensions. As Senior House Manager David sees it as his responsibility to "make the evening run smoothly". "Everything happens in that last half hour before the concert," he says, a period which may involve him in sorting out foyer problems, answering queries, supervising the ushers and, most importantly, seeing to the needs of the artists. It is obviously essential for the house manager to be relaxed and reassuring at such a time, and this is what David does so well. ‘My tense days are over" he says, acknowledging that the back-up he gets from the ushers (whom he recruits), Giorgio, his fellow house managers (Derek Archer and Andrew Graves) and the other Wigmore Hall staff is a crucial factor.

David joined the Wigmore Hall as a concert assistant from the Royal Festival Hall where he had worked after leaving the Royal College of Music. He arrived in 1985 to a job where he "did everything – box office, house manager, the lot". There were two part-time assistants who manned the box office in the evening; during the day the concert assistants took over. David found this good basic training because he was able to "see a lot more of how the whole building works", an aspect he still enjoys as house managers are so involved in the day-to day business of the Hall. The familiar walk up the right aisle a few minutes before the start of the concert is the moment when the house manager checks that all is well with the artists; it is the time for "personal contact, a little pampering". It is also the time to see that the lights are adjusted ("We are low tech at Wigmore Hall…") and everything is ready for the concert to begin. David considers that the building-up of relationships with artists is vital: "Artists like continuity, a familiar face. They know William is there and they know the house manager, which gives them a feeling of security". He is touched that so many artists remember his name "even if they only come once a year" – surely a tribute to his friendly support.

Very occasionally the house manager has to deal with a spot of audience problem – the dreaded mobile telephone, for instance. And one Sunday Coffee Concert morning, a call for help to the local police regarding an unwanted presence in the auditorium resulted in no fewer than 12 policemen arriving on the scene!

The house manager’s responsibilities end "when I lock the building up", after switching off computers and checking throughout. (The restaurant has separate responsibilities.) The staggered hours of the job suit David who also has a busy life as a professional musician. He is a gifted organist and gives about ten recitals a year; selections from two of them have been issued on the CD The King of Instruments: David King Live at St John’s Smith Square, a release hailed by The Organ as "splendid performances". David is currently Director of Music at St Gabriel’s Warwick Square, where he organises a monthly series of Sunday afternoon concerts. Music is not quite all his life: he runs a badminton club which he competes at league level and he cycles to work, a cause of concern to his colleagues as he tends to be dramatically disaster-prone on his bicycle!

David is clearly a happy man. He loves his job and speaks with warm affection of his colleagues. When asked what are the rewards of the job he replies without hesitation: "Oh, the concerts, the music, the artists. The great receptions the artists get from the audience, the feeling of knowing that you are a part of making the evening a success…"

We all benefit from his enthusiasm and dedication.

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