Aldeburgh: Music festival chief moves on to new challenge

Jonathan Reekie at the official opening of the National Centre Of Excellence Hoffmann Building in Snape Maltings. Jonathan Reekie at the official opening of the National Centre Of Excellence Hoffmann Building in Snape Maltings.

Friday, December 6, 2013
7:00 AM

A principle exponent of musical and art in Suffolk has been appointed to oversee operations at one of London’s most prestigious buildings.

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Jonathan Reekie is set to leave his role as chief executive of Aldeburgh Music to become director at Somerset House Trust from next spring.

Mr Reekie, who received a CBE for services to music ahead of this summer’s 66th Aldeburgh Festival, presided over the redevelopment of Snape Maltings and led the Britten centenary celebrations in Aldeburgh.

He said: “After more than 16 wonderful years I’ve come to realise that there is nowhere better to be in the field of music than Aldeburgh. Moving to Somerset House, which will be a very different challenge, therefore seems like the perfect step for me.

“I’m very excited to be offered the role of director of Somerset House. Its beautiful historic buildings and the creative tenants it houses offer huge potential for its next phase of development. I’m looking forward to working with the trustees and staff who have done such an excellent job restoring the site to its former glory and establishing it as an important cultural destination.

“I never imagined I would stay in Aldeburgh for such a long time. What has kept me there is the combination of the inspirational place, the richness of the Britten legacy and the wonderfully supportive trustees and staff. I shall always treasure the time I have spent there and look forward to taking much of what I have learnt, particularly in the area of nurturing talent, into my next challenge.

“I envy the person who will follow me in running such a special place, and feel extraordinarily lucky to be moving onto somewhere equally special.”

Simon Robey, chairman of Aldeburgh Music, paid tribute to the outgoing chief executive, saying he will leave Aldeburgh “brimming with success, buzzing with energy and full of exciting possibilities for our future”.

Mr Reekie will continue in the role until March, and will finalise the programmes for 2014, as well as completing other projects, including the Arts Council England submission and the first new opera collaboration with Royal Opera House and Opera North. In the event of a hiatus, general manager Harry Young will act as interim chief executive.