Snape music centre appeal nears target

AN APPEAL to raise £12 million to create an international centre of excellence for music and the arts is on the verge of meeting its lofty target.More than £11m has now been donated to Aldeburgh Music's development plan at Snape Maltings - but the public and music lovers are still being urged to make contributions to ensure that the appeal does not fall short at the last hurdle.

By Richard Smith

AN APPEAL to raise £12 million to create an international centre of excellence for music and the arts is on the verge of meeting its lofty target.

More than £11m has now been donated to Aldeburgh Music's development plan at Snape Maltings - but the public and music lovers are still being urged to make contributions to ensure that the appeal does not fall short at the last hurdle.

The project will transform the musical life of the Suffolk coast and, drawing on the inspiring landscape, Snape Maltings will become the first dedicated campus in Europe where the most talented artists from around the world can realise their full potential and connect with a wider public.


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Victorian maltings buildings will be converted into new rehearsal and performance spaces, and there will be a courtyard with roof light including a foyer and a social mezzanine area for artists, to be named after Dame Janet Baker.

There is room - not the subject of the current appeal - for future growth with other buildings earmarked for income generating shops and an art gallery.

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Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldeburgh Music, said yesterday: “We are now past the £11m mark but as the world and their wife tells me, the last £1m is the hard bit.

“The appeal has gone very well but there is no room for complacency at all. We are kind of on target for the fund raising which is great and it means that it has given us the confidence to push ahead and go out for tenders.

“These are due back in the next three to four weeks and we are scheduled to start building after Easter. “We are waiting for builders to tell us how long it will take and we hope it will be finished by October next year.”

During the demolition phase industrial archaeology has been uncovered and bats have been moved. There is a heated bat maternity wing so that an alternative habitat can be created.

Sections of plaster where the bats were originally have been moved to allow the bats to feel ''at home'' in their new area.

Mr Reekie added: ''One reason the fund raising has gone quite well is that it is a very exciting plan.

“We are doing something new, the benefits both for Suffolk and the music world beyond are very clear and demonstrable.

''We are going to do something that is not being done elsewhere and people can really see the point of it and empathise with it and that is why they have been very generous.

''I think anyone who knows anything about this place is excited about these old buildings coming back to life.

“I think people felt the buildings would crumble and fall into the ground and then at the last minute they are being saved.”

One popular fund raising initiative has been to sponsor a board of the new boardwalk in the reeds with the donor's name inscribed.

Arts Council England gave £4m, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the county council both gave £250,000, the Jerwood Foundation contributed £500,000 and the East of England Development Agency gave £1.25m.

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