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Mr Darren Henley OBE

I am very interested in the impact that exposure to the very best culture can have on improving the lives of people across the UK - no matter their age or background. Over the past 21 years at Classic FM, we have concentrated on sharing the finest performances of the greatest classical music with the widest possible audience. I am keen to understand new ways in which cultural institutions can widen the appeal and understanding of great art forms without in any way diminishing the integrity and authenticity of the art itself.

I am also particularly interested in the place of cultural education in the lives of children and young people. I believe that all children can and should benefit from receiving a wide-ranging, adventurous and creative cultural education. For many young people, cultural activities form a vital part of their everyday lives. These activities are academically, physically and socially enriching, whether they take place in-school or out-of-school.

As well as being important in the development of all young people's lives, the skills which they learn from studying Cultural Education subjects help to ensure that the UK has over many years built up a Creative and Cultural industries sector which is, in many areas, world-beating. The education which children and young people receive in school in Creative and Cultural subjects has a direct bearing on feeding in to the talent pool for those who take up employment in this sector.


Darren Henley is the Managing Director of Global Radio's national classical music station, Classic FM. The author of two independent government reviews into music and cultural education and 23 books about classical music and musicians, he chairs the government’s Cultural Education Board and the Mayor of London's Music Education Advisory Group. He is a member of the governing body of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and is Vice President of the Canterbury Festival. Darren studied politics at the University of Hull. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, of the Radio Academy and of the London College of Music; an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University and of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; an Honorary Member of the Royal Northern College of Music and of the Incorporated Society of Musicians; and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. He has picked up four gold Radio Academy Awards, four Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award and a Classic BRIT Award. In 2012, he was awarded the Sir Charles Groves Prize for his outstanding contribution to British music. He was appointed an OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music.

Darren Henley