Alison Balsom OBE has been appointed Artistic Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival. In today’s announcement, the festival said: “With her international reputation as one of classical music’s great ambassadors, Alison Balsom’s appointment reflects Cheltenham Festivals’ continued commitment to excellence and making the arts accessible to new audiences, in particular young people, through its developing education programme.”
Former Artistic Directors of the festival include John Manduell, Michael Berkeley, Martyn Brabbins and, for the past 10 years, Meurig Bowen.
On her appointment, Alison said: “I am delighted to be joining Cheltenham Music Festival, which has such a strong commitment to bringing classical music to the widest possible audience, and to supporting young talent. I know that the board and management of Cheltenham Festivals share my belief in the importance of good music education, so I am very much looking forward to working alongside them to develop this side of the Festival’s work even further. Most of all, I relish the opportunity to invite the world’s greatest artists and ensembles to the Festival and to lead it joyfully into this next exciting chapter.”
Edward Gillespie, Chair of Cheltenham Music Festival said: “It is a thrilling prospect for Cheltenham that Alison will succeed Meurig Bowen as Artistic Director. Her musical brilliance and engaging personality will delight the Festival’s many communities and help us to attract even more. I much look forward to this bright new era for the Festival.”
Festivals Director Ian George said: “Cheltenham Music Festival is one of the leading classical music festivals in the country with an illustrious line of Artistic Directors. I look forward to working closely with Alison to ensure Cheltenham continues to lead the way in music education, in our commitment to new music and in our engagement with new audiences.”
The 2018 Cheltenham Music Festival takes place from 4 to 15 July 2018, with the line-up of performers announced so far including Louise Alder, Dame Sarah Connolly, and Sir András Schiff. Find out more on the festival website.