Professor Jonathan Vaughan appointed as new Principal of Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Professor Jonathan Vaughan, who joined Guildhall School 15 years ago as its Director of Music, has today been appointed as its new Principal.

Jonathan has been Interim Principal of Guildhall School since the retirement of Lynne Williams, who left in August 2021, after nearly five years in post. Jonathan starts as Principal with immediate effect and in due course, Guildhall School will undertake a recruitment process for a Vice-Principal and Director of Music to replace him.

In taking the helm of one of the world’s most respected conservatoires, Professor Jonathan Vaughan is taking on a coveted and uniquely rewarding role. Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of musicians, actors, and production artists, which features regularly at the top of the Guardian University Guide music league table; the Complete University Guide arts, music, and drama league table; and many other rankings.

City of London Corporation’s Chairman of Guildhall School of Music & Drama Board of Governors, Graham Packham, said:

“Following an extensive global search and assessment process, I am delighted to announce that Professor Jonathan Vaughan has been appointed as the new Principal of Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

“In our view, the post of Principal of Guildhall School is one of the most prestigious roles in the UK’s performing arts world.

“I am confident that Jonathan’s passion for the School, inclusive leadership style, and vision for the future will equip him to lead our world-leading conservatoire to further successes, as we work towards the School’s 150th anniversary in 2030.”

Principal of Guildhall School, Professor Jonathan Vaughan, said:

“Since starting work at Guildhall School in 2007, I have loved the place to its bones, so it is an enormous honour and privilege to lead the School into the next chapter of its development. My thanks to the Chairman, Graham Packham, and the Board of Governors for offering me this wonderful opportunity.

“I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary work of our staff and students, and we have an exceptional leadership team with a clear, bold, and unified vision of our future.

“In a fast-changing society, our job is to create next generation artists, who are not only exceptional performers and makers, but global citizens, cultural leaders, and change makers. Guildhall School is ready to rise to the challenge.”

Guildhall School’s Principal provides strategic direction and leadership for the institution and ensures that the School’s business plan is implemented effectively, positioning and representing Guildhall School at a national and international level.

Reporting to the Town Clerk and Chief Executive of the City of London Corporation, which owns and manages the School, and responsible to the Board of Governors of Guildhall School, the Principal leads the Vice-Principals Group and the Senior Management Team.


Notes for Editors: 

For further information and high-resolution image of Professor Jonathan Vaughan, please contact Rebecca Driver Media Relations:

Maddie Castell / 07817 002653 /

Grace Filmer / 07498 918350 /

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts, Culture, and Heritage), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060 /

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

About Guildhall School of Music & Drama:

Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of musicians, actors, and production artists in the heart of the City of London. Ranked number one in Arts, Drama & Music by the Complete University Guide 2023; one of the top ten performing arts institutions in the world (QS World University Rankings 2022); and the top conservatoire in the Guardian University Guide music league table, the School delivers world-class professional training in partnership with distinguished artists, companies and ensembles. A global leader in creative and professional practice, Guildhall School promotes innovation, experiment and research, and is also one of the UK’s leading providers of lifelong learning in the performing arts, offering inspiring training for children, young people, adult learners, and creative and business professionals.

 About Professor Jonathan Vaughan:

Jonathan joined Guildhall School in 2007 as Director of Music and until recently, has acted as Interim Principal. He attended a comprehensive school in a heavily industrial part of the Midlands and attributes his career to the free music lessons he received at school which were provided by Leicestershire’s outstanding music service.

After studying double bass and piano at the Royal College of Music, he became a member of the London Symphony Orchestra for ten years, where he was elected Chairman in 1999. He went on to become Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for five years, before joining Guildhall School. Jonathan is currently studying for a PhD on the subject of ‘Artistic Citizenship and Performance Excellence in Music Conservatoires’.

He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and of Guildhall School, and was conferred the title of Professor of Music at Guildhall in 2021. He has been a Governor and board member for many arts organisations, and currently sits on the Young Classical Artist Trust and the Mendelssohn Boise Scholarship Foundation.

Key responsibilities of the Principal of Guildhall School of Music & Drama include:

-          To develop and recommend to the Board, the School’s vision, strategy and implementation plans which will maintain the School’s position at the forefront of its field and reflect the needs of its various stakeholders

-          Strong and demonstrable commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, and recognition of the challenges in this area faced by higher education institutions in the performing arts

-          To oversee the implementation of a curriculum which aims at inculcating excellent standards of performing skill, academic achievement, development of individual autonomy, curiosity, leadership, flexibility and risk-taking in its graduates through imaginative forms of teaching and learning

-          Manage and maintain good relations with the Office for Students, including with respect to Institution-Specific Targeted Allocations and ensuring that OfS Conditions of Registration are fully complied with

-          To oversee the strategy for capital expenditure based on the future needs of the School

-          To nurture the development of the School’s specialist music training at the under-18 level through Guildhall Young Artists

-          To maintain an educational environment which supports outstanding and innovative practice-based teaching and research, continuing professional development and creative enterprise

-          To maintain a strong and robust system of monitoring academic standards, in order to retain the School’s standing and reputation for its taught awards and validated research degrees

-          To form a strong network of local, national and international partnerships and collaborations with professional and artistic organisations, educational and community groups

-          To be an advocate for the School, and for education and the performing arts more generally, in national and international forums

-          To work corporately with the Town Clerk & Chief Executive and other senior staff to contribute to the development and implementation of the City of London Corporation’s strategic policies

-          To maintain a strong working relationship with the City of London Corporation and its associated Committees, and to ensure the achievement of strategic aims within agreed parameters

 NB: Executive search firm, Perrett Laver, was commissioned by Guildhall School of Music & Drama to lead the search and assessment process for the School’s new Principal.