Ponsonby has had a long and distinguished career as Artistic
and Music Administrator at the highest level.
From 1956 to 1960 he was Director
of the Edinburgh Festival, where he presented La Scala Opera House with
Maria Callas, the Hamburg State Opera, Beecham and the Royal
Orchestra, the Royal Ballet, the Old Vic Company, the Boston Symphony
Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia, the Leningrad Philharmonic, the
Robbins and the Jean Babilée ballet companies, and many others.
After a period spent in New York
and the Bahamas as a freelance consultant, and then back in London with
the Independent Television Authority, in 1964 he became General
of the Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of this
was the Orchestra's first overseas tour, with Jacqueline du Pré
and Janet Baker as soloists. From 1972 to 1985 he was Controller of
at the BBC, responsible, in particular, for the BBC's Symphony
and the Proms. He was also Director of the Commonwealth Arts Festival
Glasgow and of the Canterbury Festival.
Robert Ponsonby has been associated
with many organisations: the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Purcell
the Young Concert Artists Trust, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the
Council for Music in Hospitals, the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable
the Michael Tippett Musical Foundation, the Wingate Scholarships, the
He has adjudicated for the Artur
Rubinstein International Pianoforte Competition and the Rupert
Young Conductors Awards, has contributed essays, reviews and obituaries
to several major newspapers and magazines, and has broadcast talks and
interviews on BBC Radio (3, Scotland, World Service) and BBC-TV, as
as on radio stations abroad.