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Meet Maxine Kwok and Linton Stephens - Two of This Years’ Musicians’ Census Ambassadors

Learn about Maxine and Linton’s work supporting the 2023 Musicians’ Census, and how recognising what’s going on in the industry can help to make real, positive change.

Published: 07 February 2023 | 4:32 PM Updated: 21 July 2023 | 4:14 PM
Portrait of Maxine Kwok smiling holding a violin.
"I am proud to be an ambassador". Image credit: The MU ©

The music industry brings together a broad and diverse range of people, each embarking on a unique career path pursuing their own creative vision.

However, in order to best support these visions, we need to capture a wider view of the industry.

As a first violinist and Board Member in the London Symphony Orchestra, Maxine Kwok explains the Musicians’ Census helps us achieve this "by recognising what’s going well for some and the challenges facing others so we can in turn create a better, more inclusive industry for the next generation”.

If we understand the problem, we can make real, positive change

Maxine is one of this year’s Musicians’ Census ambassadors and features in the February edition of International Arts Manager magazine, where she shares her engaging ‘day in the life of’ diary entries and why she is “proud to be an ambassador” of such an “extremely important survey”.

As well as this, she has also previously written a blog for the MU on life as an orchestral musician, and has featured in the union’s Musician Behind the Moment campaign. During the campaign - which aims to show the true value of the UK’s orchestral musicians - she talked of her time working on new Star Wars music with John Williams, and how the industry is now starting to become much more diverse.

Of course, there is still much to do to ensure genuine equality and Maxine says: “Improvement can only happen through a greater understanding which is why I’m really pleased to hear about the Musicians Census. With insights comes understanding and it’s only if we understand the problem that we can make real, positive change.”

We need to know what support you need

Musician and member Linton Stephens also supports the survey and in addition to his work as an ambassador, is the Sub-principal Bassoon at Chineke! Orchestra, Artistic Associate at The Multi-Story Orchestra and Board Member at Chetham’s School of Music and the Orion Orchestra.

Portrait of Linton Stephens against a yellow background.
"A union is a great place to be connected". Image credit: The MU © 

He is also Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee at the MU and has interviewed the founder of Blue Moon, Dr Joanna Abeyie, discussing what it means to be anti-racist, the definitions of key terms and how to be a good ally.

Linton spoke about his own union journey and why EDI work is so important at our 2022 MU Members’ Conference, and speaking to journalist Natasha Hirst in a previous MU feature, he also said: “A union is a great place to be connected, both for activism, but also for knowing people within the industry who are going to stand in your corner”.

In order to stand in your corner and to provide the best possible support, we need to get to know the music community better; who you are, where you are, what you do and what support you need to keep doing it - which is why the survey is so important to all musicians.

Revisit our story on why musicians Iona Fyfe and Lady Nade also back the Musicians’ Census 2023.

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