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Samuel Cairnduff: Arts Leaders Program

Jan 15, 2020

Since 2017, Samuel Cairnduff has been the Director, Marketing and Communications at the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He leads strategy in the areas of audience development, marketing, sales and communications.


What attracted you to the Leadership Program?

Having long been aware the Australia Council offered the most important arts leadership programs in Australia, and being equally aware of the strong profiles of alumni, participation in the program has been a longstanding ambition of mine. The opportunity to interact with arts professionals from around Australia and from diverse disciplines provides an invaluable forum in which to develop leadership skills and explore shared challenges and aspirations.

Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?

Facilitating a thriving environment for arts practitioners to create, explore and subsequently enrich our cultural lives is the responsibility of robust arts administration, and innovative, visionary and uplifting leadership can elevate the effectiveness of arts organisations exponentially. At a time when there are so many superb arts organisations and collectives operating in Australia, strong and inspiring leadership is more important than ever.

Are there ideas around leadership that need to change for our sector to thrive? Are the current notions of leadership still relevant?

As contemporary organisational culture moves from management to leadership, a deeper exploration of what leadership means in the arts can only improve the productivity of our sector. As leadership is a constantly evolving discipline there is always opportunity to blend the unique characteristics of the creative environment and cultural industries, into cutting edge leadership theory and practice. I believe leadership will always be relevant, but the ability to lead in such a way that produces the best results for the specific organisation remains the challenge.

What are the top three qualities of leaders that inspire you?

Passion, focus and transparency.


Samuel Cairnduff has been Director Marketing and Communications at the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra since 2017. In this role at the TSO he leads strategy in the areas of  audience development, marketing, sales and communications, as well as overseeing the TSO corporate partnership portfolio. He proudly leads a team that has been responsible for the most significant subscription and sales results during the TSO’s history.

Sam has a strong background in media and communications, particularly in the arts sector, and ran his own concert production, touring and media company, SJEMG, in London for 10 years with an active presence across the UK.

He produced stage shows in London and on tour including Patricia Routledge: Behind the Music, the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Awards and Fascinating Aida at St James Theatre;  presented Tommy Emmanuel in concert at Leicester Square Theatre; and represented UK tours for Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett, Jessie Buckley and Daniel Boys; curated 3 festivals at Kings Place; relaunched The Pheasantry, a music venue in Chelsea; and was engaged as publicist for Marvin Hamlisch, John Williams and Charlie Watts. He was a judge at the 2014 London Cabaret Awards and was a regular guest on BBC Radio London.

Sam has a parallel background as a professional pianist; he spent 5 years performing onboard Princess, Cunard and Holland America cruise ships, and was engaged as resident pianist at the Dorchester, Claridges and Savoy hotels in London.

Returning to Australia in 2016, Sam sits as a director on the boards of Bethlehem House, a housing facility for homeless men in Hobart, and nationally recognised baroque ensemble Van Diemen’s Band. He is a member of AICD and completing an MBA at Deakin University.

Learn more about the 2020 Leadership Program participants.