Sir John Richard Gray Drummond CBE was an English arts administrator who spent most of his career at the BBC.
Drummond was the son of a master mariner in the British India line and an Australian lieder singer. He was educated at Canford School and, after his National Service in the Navy, read History at Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he was a member of the Marlowe Society, performing in Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, which was broadcast on the Third Programme in 1958 with Derek Jacobi in the title role. At the time he had already gained a BBC general traineeship.
His early career at the BBC was as a foreign correspondent and then director/producer of arts programmes for BBC Television; ultimately he became Assistant Head of Music and Arts before becoming director of the Edinburgh International Festival at the end of 1977. Drummond's period at the Festival was particularly successful, and Norman Lebrecht commended him in a tribute for his multi-disciplinary approach in a celebration of 'fin de siècle' Vienna in 1983.
After leaving his post in Edinburgh in 1983, he returned to the BBC and was appointed Controller, Music in 1985 and then Controller of Radio 3 when the two posts were merged. He was succeeded by Nicholas Kenyon as Controller of Radio 3, but Drummond continued to be responsible for the Proms until his last season in 1995. While Controller of Radio 3, Drummond introduced the co-ordination of interval talks with the evening concert, doubled the length of the Saturday morning Record Review programme and scheduled the first Jazz concert at the Proms with Loose Tubes in 1987. Drummond had a low opinion of the Radio 3 audience, which he saw as consisting of “thirty minority tastes, each of which is characterised by its intense dislike of the other twenty-nine”.