Music therapy charity Nordoff and Robbins has announced that music agent and co-head of CAA’s London Office/co-head of international touring, Emma Banks, has been appointed as chair, with current chair David Munns stepping down after 30 years of support, 13 of which were leading the charity’s board of trustees.

AEG Presents artistic director Lucy Noble will take on the role of vice chair as Howard Jones steps down as a trustee after over a decade of support. Neil Warnock, who has supported Nordoff and Robbins for 40 years, will step down as a trustee.

Banks, who in 2023 was awarded Music Week’s ‘The Strat’ award, alongside being named mentoring platform The Cat’s Mother’s ‘Cat’s Mother of the Year’, has been a longstanding supporter of Nordoff and Robbins. Chairing the committee of the charity’s flagship O2 Silver Clef Awards for the past decade, she joined its board of trustees in 2019 and also sits on the Nordoff and Robbins Race Day committee.

The first female executive to receive the coveted MITS Award in 2018, Banks has represented musicians including Katy Perry, Muse, Arcade Fire, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence + The Machine, Kylie Minogue and Green Day.

In her role as chair, Banks will oversee Nordoff and Robbins’ aim of using music therapy to help break through the barriers caused by life-limiting illness, disability and social isolation.

Munns, who has supported Nordoff and Robbins for more than 30 years, including playing a key role in organising the Knebworth ’90 concert that funded a new music therapy centre for the charity in Kentish Town, now steps down from the role of chair which he has held since 2010.

David Munns

During his tenure, Munns has guided the charity through a significant growth period and becoming a UK-wide charity, which has seen an 894% increase in clients the charity works with yearly to more than 13,000. Sessions delivered each year increased to almost 50,000 and the number of therapists employed across the UK saw a 288% increase, he also oversaw a merger with N&R Scotland in 2018.

Since 2010, the annual income has tripled under Munns’ expert leadership. The charity’s flagship Master of Music Therapy programme is now delivered in Manchester and Newcastle as well as London.

Through his long career, Munns has held senior roles at Polygram and EMI and worked with artists including Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, U2, the Bee Gees, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Van Morrison. He also chaired the Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS) Committee for 27 years, raising more than £7m for Nordoff and Robbins and The BRIT Trust, before stepping down in 2021.

Supporting Banks in her new role, AEG Presents’ artistic director, Lucy Noble, will take on the role of Vice Chair, as current Vice Chair, lawyer Howard Jones, steps down after over 13 years of support.  Lucy joined the charity’s Board of Trustees in April this year, bringing with her a wealth of experience from AEG Presents’, where she willset the artistic direction across theirits live touring and events business, following 20 years as Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall.

Lucy Noble

Music agent Neil Warnock, trustee board member and chair of the charity’s Fundraising Committee, is also stepping down from his trustee role at Nordoff and Robbins.

Banks said, “The music industry has loyally supported and championed this vital charity for many years, and I embrace the responsibility of building on David’s legacy with the support of Lucy and the Board of Trustees, continuing this essential advocacy far into the future. We have an incredibly strong Board that we will be looking to add to in the coming months as our new strategy develops, and I welcome anyone who is interested in becoming involved with Nordoff and Robbins to reach out to me.”

Munns said, “After 12 years as a trustee and then the chair role I feel it is time for someone else to help steer this wonderful organisation. I have Nordoff and Robbins in my blood because we don’t just use music to entertain, we must also use the power of music to help those who find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate any other way. There is a huge need for Nordoff and Robbins’ work and the people there are completely dedicated to making it available to as many people as possible – it’s a truly remarkable organisation. Emma and Lucy will make a huge contribution to the future of Nordoff and Robbins and they need your support.”

Noble said, “In my time on the Board of Trustees at Nordoff and Robbins, I have seen first hand the power of music to transform lives – From adults living with dementia reconnecting with their family, to children with autism finding their voice. I thank the Board for placing their trust in me to take on the role of vice chair and am excited to work with Emma as we enter a new phase for this increasingly important charity.”

Nordoff and Robbins CEO Sandra Schembri said, “We are thrilled for Emma Banks to be stepping into the role of Chair of Nordoff and Robbins, supported by the excellent Lucy Noble as vice chair. A hugely respected figure in the music industry and beyond, we are grateful for Emma’s time, presence and energy as we now leave the challenges of recent years behind and look ahead to a bright future.

Sandra Schembri (left) and Emma Banks

“It is impossible to explain in just a few sentences the transformational impact that David Munns has had to Nordoff and Robbins in his time as a trustee and chair. From overseeing the merger with our Scottish sister organisation, and us becoming a UK wide charity to weathering the storm of Covid-19 and making it through to the other side, alongside many, many unforgettable fundraising events and unwavering support for the clients we work with. We also owe both Howard Jones and Neil Warnock, a debt of gratitude and sincerely thank them for their focus on our mission.”