Saffron Hall Chief Executive, Angela Dixon, has been named ‘Concert Hall Manager of the Year’ at the prestigious Association of British Orchestras/Rhinegold Awards, which honour the ‘backstage heroes’ of the classical music industry.
The awards were presented by Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor at the ABO conference dinner last night (20 January 2016) with the following citation:
“[Angela Dixon] gave up a prestigious role as Head of Music at the Barbican (…) because Saffron Hall is unique: an award-winning 740-seat performance space built for £10m from a charitable trust in the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School, a state comprehensive. And her management of the venue since she became its chief executive in March 2014 has won her the ABO/Rhinegold award as concert hall manager of the year. The hall’s critically acclaimed acoustic and state-of-the-art facilities surpass many of the world’s more established venues and since the hall opened in November 2013, artists including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Maxim Vengerov, Nicola Benedetti and The Sixteen have performed there. Coming up are the CBSO with Benedetti, The English Concert, and Sir Andras Schiff. But her rare balancing act has to see the hall as both an international venue and as a community hall that also serves an educational establishment, so that her programming of the hall interlaces these stars with local amateur musicians and young performers. In 2014-15 the hall sold 23,000 tickets with half the events sold out.”
Angela Dixon, Saffron Hall Chief Executive, responded to the award by commenting:
“At Saffron Hall our unique model allows us to unswervingly follow our vision of high quality programming, inspirational and embedded learning work, and truly engaging with the community around us. My hope is that our model will spawn a host of regional concert halls that can similarly serve their communities. It is a great honour to receive the ABO award after such a short time in post and in accepting it I would like to pay tribute to the wonderful staff at Saffron Hall, our inspirational funder at Yellow Car Charitable Trust, the pupils and staff at Saffron Walden County High School and all of the artists and orchestras who have made our first two seasons such a success.”
The ABO is the national body representing the collective interests of professional orchestras, youth ensembles and the wider classical music industry throughout the UK. Its annual conference this year in Birmingham focuses on ‘place makers’ and takes a look at the role that culture plays in creating places where people want to live, work and visit.