Sir John Tusa

writer, broadcaster, manager, arts leader

Sir John Tusa is a broadcaster, writer and arts manager. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1936, he came to England with his family in the summer of 1939. Educated at St Faith’s School, Cambridge and Gresham’s School, Holt, he took a first class Honours Degree in History at Trinity College, Cambridge. He served his National Service between 1954 and 1956 mainly in West Germany ending as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery.

Sir John Tusa joined the BBC as a General Trainee in 1960, becoming a Producer in the BBC’s General overseas Service. He resigned from BBC staff in 1966 to freelance as a broadcaster, interviewer and reporter. In 1980, Tusa became a founding presenter of the new “Newsnight” programme where he remained for 6 years. During that time he was honoured by the Royal Television Society and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

From 1986-92, Tusa was Managing Director of BBC World Service. Between 1995 and 2007, he was Managing Director of the Barbican Centre.

Thereafter, he was Chair of the University of the Arts London and of the Clore Leadership Programme. Now he is Co-Chair of the European Union Youth Orchestra and a Trustee of the Turquoise Mountain trust. His books on the arts include "Art Matters" (1999), "Engaged with the Arts" (2007) and "Pain in the Arts" (2014). Tusa published his memoirs " Making a Noise: Getting it Right, Getting it Wrong in Life, the Arts and Broadcasting" in 2018. He received a knighthood in 2003.