Music centre bid enjoys huge success

AN APPEAL to find £12million to turn Snape Maltings into a worldwide centre of musical excellence has been so successful that an extra £2m will be raised to improve facilities for musicians and concertgoers.

By Richard Smith

AN APPEAL to find £12million to turn Snape Maltings into a worldwide centre of musical excellence has been so successful that an extra £2m will be raised to improve facilities for musicians and concertgoers.

The initial target of £12m has been reached and now Aldeburgh Music is attracting international financial support to announce a revised target of £14m.

Music lovers in America are finding the aims of Aldeburgh Music particularly exciting and Kresge, an American foundation, has laid down a major challenge.


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If Aldeburgh Music reaches its financial target by October next year then Kresge will pour $500,000 (£250,000) into the financial pot.

Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldeburgh Music, said: “The response to our appeal has been fantastic and I think fundamentally the reason for that was that this is an amazing project.

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“We have reached our target but we were very cautious right from the start. This was because this project is one of the biggest non-metropolitan arts projects ever in this country and there was a lot of concern about how feasible it would be to raise such huge sums for an arts project in quite a rural area.

“We cut out some things because we did not know if we could pay for them and we didn't want to aim too high and not quite make it.

“We have a fantastic momentum and we must take advantage of that and now we can bring in things that will make a really big difference to the functioning of this site and make it breathe as a campus.”

Mr Reekie added: “This project gives Suffolk obvious cultural benefits, social benefits and the education work we do with young people.

“There are substantial economic benefits with 50 new jobs directly and indirectly made and £1m of extra net household income to the locality.

''Outside of Suffolk this project has ramifications for music not just nationally but also internationally. We will have an international centre of excellence.

“Musicians will come from all over the world with North America and Canada a very important source of new artistic talent.

“Professional musicians will come to improve themselves and all year round there will be a steady stream of them to experiment and refresh themselves. They will be staying in bed and breakfasts, eating out and bringing in money.”

Fundraising roadshows will be held this autumn, including an event in New York.

The extra money will pay for the conversion of the dovecot into a studio for musicians, visual artists and writers. The area in front of the Britten-Pears building will be pedestrianised and parking for concertgoers will be improved. There will also be a café for musicians, and the catering facilities in the main hall will be upgraded.

Work has already started on spending millions of pounds on a new concert hall stage, bigger than the current stage, with 340 seats.

There will be extra rehearsal studios, a foyer, social areas and ancillary spaces over two floors. Extra office space and storage, welfare facilities, a bar and a kitchen are also planned. This phase could be completed in early 2009.

Funding has come from Arts Council England, the East of England Development Agency, the county and district councils, and the Britten-Pears and Jerwood Foundations. The public is also sponsoring various items.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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