Jonathan Moulds CBE
Jonathan Moulds, Group Chief Operating Officer at Barclays, was the recipient of the 2015 Beacon Award for cultural philanthropy. In this interview Moulds talks about his passion for the arts, especially classical music and its educating effect, and how he has used his wealth and influence to have a positive impact.
City supremo Jonathan Moulds has taken up the baton for the arts. He is a passionate patron, particularly of music, and an advocate for more giving among the business community.
Moulds’ philanthropic prescription is ‘excellence, education and innovation’ and world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) fits the bill perfectly, having its own education centre, and now aiming to reach wider audiences through digital technology.
Moulds has been a board director of LSO since 2006. In 2011 he took up the challenge of chairing the newly-formed LSO development board, and in 2012 launched its most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, LSO Moving Music. It will enable LSO to take the orchestra’s music out of the concert hall to millions across the world via the digital sphere.
Moving Music aims to raise £6m for LSO’s endowment trust by May 2015, thereby releasing £3m match funding from Arts Council England. Besides chairing the campaign, Moulds has donated the largest single gift LSO has received from an individual, that in turn has inspired more donations. “If I and others can be good examples of giving, then I think that is a good thing. Many people could give more time, skills and money but I don’t think it is just a numbers game. Recognition for those givers who make gifts relevant to their wealth, or who give time and skills is just as important,” says Moulds, who hankers after a more US approach to giving.
“Having spent much of my career in the US I have seen a very different mindset. They come to the table thinking ‘how can I help’ and there is a lot of peer pressure to give more,” says Moulds. On retiring from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2012, Moulds devoted himself to encouraging arts philanthropy on a broader platform, taking over the helm of Arts & Business (A&B) that is redefining the contract between business and the arts. Moulds has committed time, energy and advice helping A&B to re-find its feet.
He has now returned to work in the City, taking up the position of Group Chief Operating Officer for Barclays PLC in Febrauary 2015. Moulds’ philanthropy goes beyond organisations. An accomplished violinist, he is a collector of priceless Stradivarius, Guadagnini and Guarneri, that he loans to bright new talent, including Scotland’s Nicola Benedetti and LSO Leader Roman Simovic.
“Collecting began as a passion, and gave a good financial return, but then I thought I could do something good too by loaning out instruments. I encourage them to be used to educate others. I want to see a broader leveraged educational component in everything I give to. Supporting the arts is not necessarily about creating the next great soloist but instilling a sense of pride in people and inspiring them in what they do,” says Moulds.
This text first appears in the 2015 Beacon Awards programme.Visit Beacon Awards to learn more.