Recovery grant and new chief executive for Wiltshire Music Centre

WILTSHIRE Music Centre at Bradford-on-Avon has been awarded £56,898 from the government’s latest culture recovery fund and has announced the appointment of its new chief executive.

The grant, announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, is to help the music centre to recover and plan for the reopening in the summer. WMC is one of more than 2,700 cultural and creative organisations across the country to benefit from this latest round of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

WMC is the only professional concert hall in the county, presenting more than 150 concerts a year by world class visiting artists. It is also a busy community centre hosting a diverse programme of regular activities by local groups and ensembles, and a creative learning hub that runs more than 30 projects a year to support people of all ages and abilities. It takes a leading role in the Celebrating Age Wiltshire project, and runs a monthly creative group for young learning-disabled adults, Zone Club. The centre is also home to several regional youth ensembles including the West of England Youth Orchestra, the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and new Wiltshire Youth Choir, launched last year during lockdown.

This second CRF grant will enable the Centre to commit the essential resources it needs to continue to develop and deliver its ambitious programme between April and June 2021, including a livestream concert series utilising the centre’s new state-of-the-art broadcast suite.

Wiltshire Music Centre trustees have announced the appointment of James Slater as the new chief executive and artistic director. Mr Slater, who is founder and former artistic director of the Mid-Wales Chamber Orchestra, has been artistic director at WMC since 2013 and interim chief executive since November 2020.

He said: “This grant together with the tremendous ongoing support of our Friends and Angels, volunteers, sponsors and supporters, will enable us to continue to serve our community at this critical time. It will also help us to take significant strides towards rebuilding our artistic and community programmes, to enable people to come back together through music as society reopens, and to develop our business model to ensure a more sustainable future.”