Festival Director

London Handel Festival - Festival Director

© Frances Marshall

Samir Savant

Samir has over 20 years’ experience as a senior manager in the cultural sector.  He took up the post of Festival Director in 2016 and has presented the annual Festival since.  His role comprises general management of the Festival on a year-round basis, including programming, artistic planning, marketing, fundraising, budgeting and oversight of all of the Festival’s functions from board recruitment to ticketing.  Previously he held fundraising and marketing positions at the Royal College of Music, Shakespeare’s Globe, English National Opera, the Royal Academy of Arts and Handel House.

He has presented several highly successful festivals, already attracting critical acclaim: “Under the direction of Samir Savant, London Handel Festival has expanded exponentially” (Sunday Times, April 2018).  He is committed to developing new audiences and partnerships for Handel, as is demonstrated by the Festival’s collaborations with new partners, ranging from the Royal Opera House to Festival Voices.  Samir devised and project managed the pioneering Messiah Reimagined, the Festival’s creative response to Covid-19, which attracted a global audience of over 250,000 for its inaugural presentation in December 2020, which is still available on the Festival’s YouTube channel.

Samir is a recognised writer and public speaker on varied topics ranging from the lack of diversity in the arts to the choral works written by composers in reaction to the Great War.  His articles have been published in Classical Music magazine and Arts Professional, and he has spoken at conferences and seminars nationally and internationally.  From 2014 to 2018, he chaired the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Cultural Sector Network’s national conference, the largest event of its type in Europe for arts and heritage fundraisers, and he is now the lead for their national mentoring programme.

Outside of work, he is an active singer, mainly with Pegasus, the award-winning chamber choir he co-founded, and is a trustee of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company and the Harrison Parrott Foundation, which seeks to support and champion diversity and inclusivity within the arts.