Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldebugh Music for 16 years, has announced that he will be leaving to take up the post of director of Somerset House Trust.
Aldeburgh Music runs the festival founded by Benjamin Britten in 1948 in the Suffolk coastal town before establishing its main home just inland at Snape in 1967. Though the annual Aldeburgh Festival remains the organisation’s flagship event, performances and projects take place year-round, with a strong emphasis on nurturing new and developing artists. Much of this growth has taken place under Reekie's leadership, which included, in 2009, the development of redundant maltings buildings at Snape into new performance and rehearsal spaces. Most recently, he led Aldeburgh Music through the Britten centenary celebrations, including an ambitious staging of Peter Grimes on the beach, and the recent weekend of events in Aldeburgh and the surrounding area to mark the centenary itself.
‘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,' said Reekie.
'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.’
Somerset House, built in 1776 and for many years used as government offices, was in the late 20th century turned in an arts and culture centre, hosting events and exhibitions throughout the year, and now offering a home to a number of creative organisations, including the record label NMC. From 2000 to 2007 it housed art on loan from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, and from 2000 to 2008 was home to Gilbert Collection of gold and silver objects, now displayed in the V&A.