Meryl Hicks, founder and Chief Executive of New Dots, tells us who and what has inspired her most throughout her career.
I started having piano lessons when I was 12, having tinkered around a bit by myself before that. Olwen started me on a life-long love affair with the piano and helped with my all round musical education – lessons weren’t just about how to play the piano, but broader than that, she taught me not to compartmentalise what I learnt, but to think about where there were similarities across subjects (in some cases as simply as how what I’d learnt in violin lessons could apply to the piano), and how I could take a particular inspiration or experience and use it somewhere else. This has stuck with me in various situations, and, particularly with New Dots, it has made me think about what experiences and skills I have gained in the corporate world that are useful when running an arts organisation.
Andrew has been a close friend of mine for a long time and he’s always been passionate about music. He chose to change career direction shortly after leaving university, having started out doing something that he didn’t love, and is now a fabulous sound engineer. He is totally committed to what he does – working extremely hard and giving 1000% to everything. He also has an amazing ear and an encyclopedic knowledge of classical music and opera houses around Europe. I believe success comes from a combination of talent, hard work and loving what you do, and Andrew is living proof of that as well as reminding me that all the hard work is worth it.
David is the Head of Technology for BP as well as being a frequent visitor to Glyndebourne. I’ve worked with David for the past three years and, although corporate scientific research might seem quite removed from the arts, he is passionate about giving scientists space to be creative and believes that exciting innovation can come from collaboration between people with diverse ideas and experiences. His passion for scientific creativity inspired me to think about how I could give musicians and composers opportunities to work together collaboratively.
I don’t know Matt, who’s the CEO of Streetwise Opera, but I love his story. He’s combined two of his passions (singing and helping the homeless) and has been willing to take the risk to set up something new, which is having a huge, positive impact on a vulnerable group of people. It makes me want to leap off my chair and do more things – to be brave about taking risks and to follow my passions.
Marc works for Peters Edition and I’ve known him for many years as the conductor of Fulham Symphony Orchestra. Through him I’ve learnt a wide range of repertoire, from Haydn to Glazunov to Adès, much of which I wouldn’t have explored on my own. He has boundless enthusiasm and ambition, and believes the orchestra is capable of things that I don’t think the players really realise are possible! He’s always right and it pushes us to keep getting better. As well as making me want to do more violin practice, Marc inspires me to be ambitious – to have big dreams and believe anything is possible.
Meryl Hicks is founder and Chief Executive of New Dots, and a strategy advisor in BP's central Technology department.
New Dots supports contemporary classical music by connecting emerging composers with musicians. Its next presentation will take place on 14 November at the Forge in Camden.