AFS 2024 Speakers

Gavin Henderson

Principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London

4th EFA President in 2004

Gavin Douglas Henderson CBE was born in 1948, is an English arts administrator, conductor and trumpeter. Since 2007 he has been principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London. He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Brighton.

Gavin Henderson was educated at Brighton College, where his father was a member of the teaching staff, Brighton College of Art, Kingston Art College, University College London and the Slade School of Fine Art. In 1972 he was appointed as Artistic Director of the York Triennial Festival and Mystery Plays, and in 1975 he became Chief Executive of the Philharmonia Orchestra. In 1979 he moved to Bracknell - establishing the Wilde Theatre and developing the South Hill Park Arts Centre.

From 1985 to 2010 he was the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School. From 1983 to 1994 he was the Artistic Director of Brighton International Festival. From 1994 to 2005 he was principal of Trinity College of Music (TCM), where he was responsible for moving the College to the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and for its merger with Laban Centre for Movement and Dance to form Trinity Laban. At Trinity he established the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts, incorporating the Mander & Mitchenson Theatre Collection.

He has been President of the European Festivals Association, Chairman of the National Foundation for Youth Music, Chairman of the Arts Council of England's Music Panel, Vice President of the British Arts Festivals Association, Governor of Chetham's School, Manchester and Chairman of Arts Worldwide/World Circuit Arts. He served on Sir Richard Eyre's review of the Royal Opera House. He is currently Honorary President of the National Piers Society.

He was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2004 Birthday Honours.

His many awards include Honorary Degrees and Fellowships from the University of Sussex, University of Brighton, Trinity Laban, Trinity College of Music, Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire. He won the Making Music Sir Charles Groves Award in 2005, and the Gold Badge of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters in 2007.