Tessa Marchington’s gurus have taught her how to create something from the ground up in a sustainable and impactful way – an approach that guided her in setting up Music in Offices.
My husband Jocelyn Marchington is part of the collective JocJonJosch. Throughout the 10 years we’ve been married he challenges me to think more deeply about the projects I work on, to question and to remain true to who I am and what it is I can contribute. He works in collaboration with two other artists, and I see the lengthy process they go through to get to a point of realising a project or an idea – sometimes after 6 months of discussion. The depth they go into on a subject sits in stark contrast with my more agile, faster paced approach, and so his process is always fascinating to me and something I can continue to aspire to.
I co-founded the Investec International Music Festival with concert pianist Wu Qian in 2009. Qian’s uncompromising professionalism and talent, combined with her consistency of hard work and dedication to improving her technique and pianism has been a benchmark for me (which I’ll never come close to!) since we met when we were 13. Despite performing concertos at 15 years old in the Royal Festival Hall, there has never been an ending to Qian’s ambition and desire to improve. There is always the need to work on generating more time and space in music and to develop our imagination to enhance the sound and colour of playing.
An artist and a campaigner, Barbara sadly passed away aged 91 in February this year. She was co-founder and director of the Artist Placement Group and over the 5 years I was privileged to get to know her, I was struck by her uncompromising and challenging perspective, and her total belief and passion in the role of artists in society. She really ‘saw’ people; she was engaged and sensitive, and appreciated the individual depth that we each possess. When I feel I am lacking in my own direction, I think of Barbara and the ‘baton’ she metaphorically passed to me, and this drives me forward in my own resolve.
Festival director and arts professional, Ian was Director of the City of London Festival, where our paths first crossed 10 years ago. I was aware of the grandeur of his work, but 3 years ago I started working closely with him on the Setubal Music Festival in Portugal. He works with absolute precision and he has taught me how to focus on the process, rather than the outcome. I have learnt how deeply projects need to be embedded into the community, and how to create something in a sustainable and impactful way from the ground up. This approach should be the foundation of any project, in any sector, whether it be commercial or charitable, and I hope to always implement what I’ve learnt into future projects.
Deirdre works at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and was the enlightened Partner back in 2007 who embraced my idea of Music in Offices, before it was anything other than an idea. I was fresh out of music college back then, and she believed in me and enabled my idea to become a business. She dedicated time to learning herself and even made sure there was a piano available in hotels to practise her Grade 1 piano pieces when she travelled around the world. What Deirdre has taught me most is the meaning of loyalty and the qualities of being a good mentor. I’ve seen how she is fully present as a mentor and how she has impacted so many young lawyers who needed her support and guidance, when so many others wouldn’t have made the time.