Louisa Portal combines an established career in the music industry with a strong commitment to supporting young people through her work with voluntary organisations. Her involvement with and love of music, particularly working with singers, can be traced throughout her professional career, which began at Covent Garden (organising recitals and interviews at the Royal Opera House) then Ibbs & Tillett (artists’ management). She has directed the Hampshire Singing Competition since its inception in 2000, leading its development into a national competition. Louisa has recently finished a seven-year contract working as Operations Manager and Librarian for Southern Sinfonia orchestra.
Equal to Louisa’s commitment to the world of music is her desire to promote the interests of young people and to encourage their talents in a variety of areas. She ran the local Beaver Scouts for many years before embarking on further training to work in the Scout and Explorer Scout sections. She is also proud to have been President of the Basingstoke West Scout District since 1999.
Louisa has always valued the inspirational education she received from the French Lycée. She found the transition back into the English system challenging and the realisation that not everyone thought unequivocally of Napoleon as a hero was unsettling! Louisa still has a fascination with and love of French history. In 1977, she travelled to Israel and worked on a kibbutz for the best part of a year: the experience made a lasting impression. Sprints to the bomb shelter were not uncommon but the independence of spirit, the shared ideals, the value placed on physical labour and, not least, the theories of childcare affected her profoundly.
Louisa was brought up in the rural parish of Little Somborne. She has precious memories of a childhood where art, music and ponies featured in equal measure, and wherever her professional roles took her, she maintained a strong link with Hampshire. She is a member of the Winchester Cathedral congregation where two of her sons were choristers. Louisa is a member of the Cathedral Council, a trustee of the Hampshire Foundation for Young Musicians and of the Friends of Music in Winchester. She was made a Deputy Lieutenant in 2005 and was awarded an MBE for services to music and scouting in 2014.
Louisa has been married to Jonathan for 32 years and they live in Ashe, near Basingstoke. They have 3 sons.