Marshall Marcus

  • Secretary General of the EUYO;
  • CEO of the International Youth Foundation;
  • Founder and President of Sistema Europe;
  • Co-founder, CEO and Chair of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment 1985 - 2006;
  • Head of Music at London’s Southbank Centre 2006 - 2012;
  • Executive Director of Endymion Ensemble 1998 - 2002;
  • Leader of the Orchestra of St. John's 1988 - 1994;
  • Professor within El Sistema in Venezuela from 1979;
  • Founder the Orquesta Barocca Simón Bolívar in 2012;
  • Associate of the Royal College of Music;
  • Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians;
  • Graduate of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge;
  • Performer in over 60 countries with musicians such as Simon Rattle, Baaba Maal and the Moscow Soloists.


Full Biography

Marshall Marcus was appointed CEO of the European Union Youth Orchestra in December 2012. He is now 
Secretary General of the EUYO and CEO of the International Youth Foundation. He was Founder and Chairman, and is now President, of Sistema Europe, Founder of Sistema Africa, a Director and Trustee of Sistema England, a member of Sistema Global's Advisory Board, and was for six years a member of the British Council's Arts and Creative Economy Advisory group. Before taking up his position with the EUYO, Marshall advised and taught at Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar in Venezuela (where he founded the Orquesta Barocca Simón Bolívar at the request of Maestro José Antonio Abreu), lead Southbank Centre’s International Sistema Research Programme in London, worked with the British Council to develop new international youth orchestra networks, and advised and tutored the Eastern Partnership ‘I, Culture’ Orchestra composed of young musicians from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Poland and the Ukraine. Other projects in the last half decade include creating and directing 'SERA', an online global Sistema Evaluation and Research Archive, and teaching at the Neojiba project in Bahia, Brazil. In the past decades he has taught and/or lectured in Abu Dhabi, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Venezuela, the UK and the USA. 

During the previous two decades Marshall was Head of Music at Southbank Centre (including London’s Royal Festival Hall), where he programmed and oversaw one of the largest arts centre music programmes in the world, and was Chairman and then Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, an orchestra which he founded with colleagues in 1985.

Before these appointments Marshall enjoyed a 25 year career as an orchestral, solo and chamber violinist, recording and performing in more than 60 countries. He worked regularly with major artists including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Roger Norrington, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Mariss Jansons, Mitsuko Uchida, Maurizio Pollini, Lang Lang and Cecilia Bartoli, and in an eclectic career has collaborated as a performer with musicians as varied as the Moscow Soloists, Baaba Maal and The Michael Nyman Band. Beginning in the 1970s, he was a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and then Concert-Master of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Caracas, Professor with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, a Principal player with Amsterdam Baroque, leader of the Orchestra of St. John’s Smith Square, and Executive Director of Endymion Ensemble, as well as appearing as leader with many orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, the London Classical Players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Numerous recordings include the Rossini String Sonatas, Globokar’s string quartet Discours VI, the complete Beethoven symphonies with Sir Roger Norrington, complete Bach Cantatas with Ton Koopman, and complete Haydn Symphonies with Christopher Hogwood.

Education: studies and teaching 
Marshall also worked for many years in music education, designing projects at primary, secondary and university level, and teaching at institutions including Bristol University, The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal College of Music. He is a graduate of The Queen's College Oxford in Philosophy and Experimental Psychology (where he was President of the Oxford Musical Club and Union, a Hastings Scholar and a Music Exhibitioner) and Trinity College Cambridge in the teaching of English. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Music. His violin teachers included Michael Vyner, Frederick Grinke, and Eta Cohen, with the latter of whom he studied for 10 years.

Other Activities
Board, judging panel and advisory appointments have included The Royal Philharmonic Society, The Association of British Orchestras, The British Association of Concert Halls, Kings Place Music Foundation, Sphinx UK, BBC Musician of the Year, and The Leverhulme Trust. Marshall is currently Vice Patron of the Kampala Music School Appeal, an Honorary Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, an advisor for the London Music Masters Programme and Orchestra For All, and a member of the Art.Change.Europe Alliance. He has appeared regularly on BBC radio and TV during the last two decades, and has written for a number of publications including, principally, the UK Guardian and the website Chameleonworld. His blog currently focuses mainly on El Sistema comment, and has been accessed by people in over 120 countries (