Music takes many forms and for a majority of listeners the highest levels of emotional satisfaction from music are derived from the organic relationship between dissonance (harmonic tension, disruption or conflict) and consonance (harmonic resolution). Music is a basic human impulse which precedes the formation of words. Where words often fail, music can be instrumental in successful communication between divided individuals or communities. Music can help to treat the traumas and mend the scars of war. The 2013 City of London Festival, for which Ian Ritchie will direct his final programme in June and July, will explore these themes in concerts, talks and a conference entitled Worlds in Collision.
Director of the City of London Festival, Ian Ritchie read Law and Music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar, and studied singing at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He has led numerous arts organisations, including the City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Opera North and St Magnus Festival, Orkney. In 2005 he returned to the City to resume the role of Director of the City of London Festival after a gap of more than twenty years.
He has advised on a large number of arts projects, was a member of the music advisory committees for the Arts Council and the British Council, has been chairman of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) and the Society for the Promotion of New Music (spnm), is currently a board member of several arts organisations, including Musicians without Borders (NL), Opera Circus and St Magnus Festival, and continues to find time for some pro bono work through his own music charity (Accord International) in support of the Mostar Sinfonietta and other musical activities in Bosnia. He is married to Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra.