Thursday, 18 December 2014

All change at Spitalfields Music and Leeds International Piano Competition

Dame Fanny Waterman - credit Andy Manning 2009
Dame Fanny Waterman - credit Andy Manning 2009
It seems to be all change at Spitalfields Music and the Leeds International Piano Composition. In Spitalfields, chief executive Abigail Pogson is leaving, and taking over as managing director of the Sage Gateshead. Whilst over in Leeds, Dame Fanny Waterman is stepping down as chairman and artistic director of the Leeds International Piano Competition after the 2015 Festival (26 August - 13 September 2015).

Dame Fanny Waterman will be 95 in 2015. She founded the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1961 and her name has been inextricably linked to the competition since then. The competition has become something of an institution, and pianists such as Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida and Lars Vogt are among previous winners and finalists. The Leeds competition without Dame Fanny will seem strange, and we await the news of her successor with interest.

Abigail Pogson has been at Spitalfields Music for seven years and in that time she has expanded the organisation's Learning and Participation programme, which has won both national awards and developed a strong relationship with the surrounding East London community. The Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2014 has just finished and this year saw record audiences, and local first time buyers have been encourage to attend via a free ticket scheme funded by regular buyers.


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