Anthony Sargent studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University while concurrently busy as a conductor and singer, and then spent 13 years in radio and television production and presentation at the BBC, including working as Head of Artistic Planning for the BBC Proms festival and for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and independent work as a record producer with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and other orchestras and choirs. He then moved to London’s Southbank Centre as Artistic Projects Director responsible for leading much of Southbank’s original programming and major festivals. Moving to Birmingham for ten years as the City Council’s Head of Arts, he created and implemented Birmingham’s first Arts Strategy and was also responsible for leading the city’s largest scale and most ambitious arts projects such as the 10-year festival of the 20thC, Towards the Millennium, developed jointly with Sir Simon Rattle, and the year-long citywide music festival that launched the Arts Council’s Arts2000 annual series of UK cultural festivals. Concurrently he represented Birmingham on the Culture Committee of Eurocities.
In 1999 Anthony rejoined the BBC in the senior management of their nationwide radio & TV Millennium Music Live festival, at the time the most ambitious music festival the BBC had ever staged, then in 2000 he was invited as founding General Director to establish, open and lead Sage Gateshead (architect, Norman Foster), the international centre for music and musical discovery on Tyneside, winning the UK’s largest single arts sponsorship achieved at that time outside London and leading the integration of 3 separate entities to create the centre’s new management team. Five years after opening Sage Gateshead had a turnover twice the original projections, commercial income 4x and education income 5x the original projections. While at Sage Gateshead Anthony was elected Chair for 3 years of the New York based International Society for the Performing Arts and was a Board director of ECHO, the European Concert Hall Organisation.
In 2015 he moved to Canada to lead Toronto’s Luminato international arts festival as CEO as it entered its second decade - launched with the 10th Anniversary Festival entirely staged in specially designed facilities in Toronto’s spectacular Hearn Electricity Generating Station, the only public event ever to have been held in the immense, decommissioned and ruined building, achieving the highest level of earned income in the festival’s history. During Anthony’s five years Luminato was re-positioned for its second decade with all three tiers of Government, corporate partners and individual donors, artists and audiences, the media and cultural communities throughout Canada, connecting Luminato organically with all those communities.
An awardee of the CBE, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and Honorary Doctor of Music, on leaving Sage Gateshead Anthony was awarded The Freedom of the Borough of Gateshead, the highest honour UK municipal authorities can bestow, after receiving (jointly with UK football legend Sir Bobby Robson) the Hotspur Award, given for outstanding contribution (”with bold endeavor”) to the development of North East England.