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January 31, 2018

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Nick

What a lovely and loving tribute, Brian! Thank you. I also got to know Robert just after he had joined the formidable Emmie Tillett in her offices in Wigmore Street. It was a good beginning for a young newcomer to the business, but like so many others before him, Emmie's old-fashioned ways of dealing with her clients and her determination not to change inevitably led him to pastures new; in Robert's case to Lies Askonas' little office wedged between Regent Street and Piccadilly. I have often wondered where his career would have taken him had there been no merger between the Holt and Askonas office. If memory services me correctly, the upstart IMG Artists had bought out Holt's orchestral touring division along with some of its star conductors and its head, Stephen Wright. That inevitably left a hole in Holt's business. The lack of a vocal division at Holt's must have made an eventual merger with the Askonas office following Lies' death seem a natural fit. Certainly Robert and his colleague as Joint Managing Director, Martin Campbell White, developed it into one of the most respected of artists' management companies. I remember Robert telling me he could not resist the call from the Met, even though it would postpone retirement by some years. It is so desperately sad that his plans for retirement will not now be realised. RIP dear Robert.

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