Raymond Gubbay is a classical music promoter and impresario based in London. The programme to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his starting out as a promoter says that, after arranging small scale concerts around the UK, he began gradually to promote in London. He now presents more than seventy performances each year at London’s Royal Albert Hall and hundreds more around the UK and in Europe and Australia.
He grew up in a comfortable middle-class Jewish household of a fairly prosperous accountant. In 1966 he started on his own, presenting concerts with three or four singers and a pianist at small halls and theatres. He began promoting in London in 1968, first on South Bank (at the newly opened Queen Elizabeth Hall) and later at the Royal Festival Hall, and from the early 1970s at the Royal Albert Hall.
The opening of the Barbican Centre in 1982 allowed him to expand the number of London concerts and he is regarded as having helped the Barbican to establish itself at a difficult time after the opening. Among the well-known names he has worked with at the Barbican are Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, James Galway, Victor Borge, Ray Charles, Henry Mancini, Yehudi Menuhin, and all four London symphony orchestras. His “Teddy Bears” concerts introduced young children to the concert hall in an informal and light-hearted way. At the Royal Festival Hall, he has presented concerts including the four-concert Fiftieth Birthday series by violin virtuoso, Itzhak Perlman.
At the Royal Albert Hall, “Classical Spectacular” has enjoyed success with regular runs of six performances at a time, almost unheard of in the field of classical music, and over 150 sold-out performances during the last few years. The same successful formula has worked in all the major arenas around the country and abroad with audiences of 12,000 or more. A major tour of German and Swiss arenas took place in autumn 2005 with performances in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Zurich. The 2006 schedule includes performances in Rotterdam, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Leipzig, Melbourne and Sydney.
In December 1991 Raymond Gubbay presented the Royal Opera production of Turandot at Wembley Arena. More recently he has co-presented in-the-round opera and ballet productions at the Royal Albert Hall including La Bohème (directed by Francesca Zambello), Carmen, Madam Butterfly, Tosca, and Aida (all directed by David Freeman), Cavalleria Rusticana, and Pagliacci; and, with English National Ballet, Swan Lake, Romeo And Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty.
In London’s West End, his productions include: The Ratepayers Iolanthe and The Metropolitan Mikado, Ute Lemper in seasons at the Queen’s Theatre and the Savoy Theatre, Circus Oz and Bejart Ballet at Sadlers Wells, the Bolshoi Ballet at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in several seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan at the Savoy Theatre, and Peter Pan, The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville at the Savoy. At the Royal Festival Hall he has presented seasons of Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, Stanislavsky Ballet, Follies, On Your Toes and Circus Oz.
The annual Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival features over 180 performances in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and throughout the UK.
His tongue-in-cheek application to run the Royal Opera House in 2000 was greeted with scorn by the musical establishment but received remarkable heavyweight support in the press and elsewhere.
Raymond Gubbay is an Honorary Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music, London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was awarded a CBE in June 2001. He lives in London and France.