Founder & Chairman
Wray Armstrong, Chairman and Founder of Armstrong Music and Arts.
A strong family background in music, both popular and classical, lead him to join the management team of The Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1979, where he was employed first as Artistic Administrator and later, from 1985 to 1991, as Managing Director. In 1991 he moved to London, UK, as Managing Director for the UK office of the well-known artist management company, ICM Artists and later, in 1999, became Director of the Conductor and Instrumentalists of IMG Artists (London), one of the largest arts management companies in the world. In addition to his duties as conductor and artist manager, he was involved in the founding of the exceptional youth orchestra training programme, CISMA, the Canton International Summer Music Academy, in Guangzhou, China, with Long Yu as Chairman and Charles Dutoit as Music Director.
He was the executive producer for the first years of the Shanghai Summer Music Festival (MISA), worldwide consultant of Czech Philharmonic, Board member and consultant of the Gluck Opera Festival in Nurnberg, Germany, and in 2008, was asked by IMG to head up the key classical music project at the Beijing Olympics, a concert series of opera stars called ‘Divas in Beijing’, in cooperation with American impresario Rick Garson.
His strong interest in China and his Canadian pioneer spirit resulted in his moving to China and establishing his own arts management and touring company in 2009, with the goal of bridging the gap and establishing links between China and the top classical music centers of Europe and North America.
He has brought leading orchestras to open many new concert halls or opera houses across China, including the Royal Philharmonic with Charles Dutoit, Russian National with Mikhail Pletnev, Czech Philharmonic with Jiri Belohlavek, visits of the great Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, violinist Joshua Bell, and gala events of opera stars Angela Gheorghiu, soprano and Jose Carreras, tenor, among others. His interest in education and ‘outreach’ is also strong, and he encourages visiting orchestras and stars to give master classes and other teaching activities whenever possible.
Mr. Armstrong is based in London and Beijing, but has already visited more than 50 cities in China as part of his company’s tours. An outstanding international project for Armstrong Music was the 2018 China tour of a new work commissioned by the San Francisco Opera, composer Bright Sheng’s opera ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, and featuring a top international Chinese creative team. In 2017, he established a company in the UK, with the goal of bringing the best of China to the leading stages of the west. Upcoming projects include tours of leading Chinese orchestras, soloists and conductors, and, in autumn 2021, a visit to Italy of Beijing Modern Dance, China’s leading contemporary dance group. At the end of 2019, with the joint efforts of him and his team, Armstrong Music and Arts and Beijing Poly Theatre Management Co., Ltd. jointly established the Poly Armstrong International Arts and Communications Co., Ltd., which is committed to becoming one of the leading artist management and touring agencies and production companies worldwide. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the new Joint Venture company, which will be arranging more than 500 performances in China annually in a broad range of activities including, in addition to traditional orchestra, opera and dance touring, musicals and exhibitions.
Mr. Armstrong recently has in addition focused his efforts in government and corporate relations, working with a broad range of embassies and non-governmental agencies including the British and Canadian Chambers of Commerce, British Council, Canadian consulates, and key sponsors to create stronger links between governments, international businesses and arts organizations.