Univ Dates: 2004-2007
Degree: BA Music
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Head of Communications & Marketing at Intermusica
Biography: Fabienne Morris knew from the age of sixteen that she wanted to combine her love of music and communications and work behind-the-scenes in the classical music industry. Whilst studying for her Music BA at Oxford, she gained work experience as a BBC Proms runner, and upon graduating became Marketing, Press and PR Trainee for the Philharmonia Orchestra. She moved first to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and then to the London Symphony, where she remained for over six years and created the position of Communications Manager.
In autumn 2015 Fabienne was headhunted for the role of Head of Communications & Marketing at Intermusica, one of the world’s leading classical music management agencies whose clients include Marin Alsop, Daniil Trifonov and Midori. She is a founder member of the Young Univ committee which organises events to help Old Members under the age of 35 stay connected with each other and the College. She has been invited by Oxford University to speak about careers in music and the arts on a number of occasions. While at Univ Fabienne received an Instrumental Award for her clarinet playing.
How would you describe Univ?
It’s a really friendly college, that’s definitely true, with a very diverse group of people. I really enjoyed being the only musician in my year – Univ doesn’t take more than a few – because it meant all my friends were historians or reading Politics or Classics and, to me, that was much more rich and varied.
Can you tell us what you are doing now?
I’m the Head of Marketing and Communications at Intermusica, one of the world’s leading classical music management agencies. We manage the careers of the best classical musicians in the world, representing those artists who have carved out really highflying solo careers for themselves. I’m particularly responsible for their public image using all of the materials that help to present them as a public figure: photography, films, how they engage with fans – either through real life or social media – website developments… It’s endlessly fascinating; I’m never, ever bored and it’s a total privilege and joy to work with people who are so inspiring.
What larger lessons did Univ teach you?
Overall I think Univ made me much more confident in my abilities, not to begin with – often it’s very common when you come to Oxford and you arrive, having been the best at your school, and think ‘Oh my goodness, there are so many phenomenally talented people here!’ and you suddenly feel very mediocre. Actually challenging yourself to pull through that feeling and find a new level of resilience and confidence means you grow, quickly, as a person.
In terms of more general traits I suppose it’s the ability to just knuckle down and do hard work, to hit deadlines and deal with stress effectively. If you are at a high-performing institution, whether it’s a university or business, people expect a lot of you and you have to be able to rise to that challenge and not crumble. Univ really taught me not to shy away from challenges and to just go for it; there’s a lot to be gained if you can do that.
How did it feel to be invited along for this project?
Only really in the last three years have I begun to come back to College regularly and that’s because I was a founding member of the Young Univ committee and I passionately believe that young alumni should know that there is a community waiting for them back here and they don’t have to just get on with their lives and forget about College. There’s a network of people and staff who make up a big family and you can drop back in to that family no matter where you are in your life.
To get younger alumni donating and giving back to the College, which has undeniably given them a head start in the world, is incredibly important too.