Bristol Music Consortium – Bristol Music Trust, the independent charity responsible for Colston Hall, and St George’s Bristol – have been awarded £1.3 million in regular funding from Arts Council England (ACE) to boost their music programmes in the city.
The money will be awarded over four years, from 2018 to 2022, and will be used to bring world-class artists to the city and provide more opportunities for Bristol’s diverse communities to experience music and music making.
Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust, said: “We are delighted with this award from Arts Council England, which we see as real recognition of the work we have been doing with our partners, St George’s Bristol over the last three years. Together we are committed to leading and delivering an inspiring, wide-ranging music programme that brings benefits to every person in the city, and this award will enable us to be even more ambitious and reach even further into communities.”
Suzanne Rolt, Chief Executive of St George’s Bristol, said: “Arts Council England continues to invest in music and Bristol’s cultural landscape, supporting the city’s leading venues. It is thanks to funding that we can bring an extraordinary range of world-class artists to the southwest, and to our unique creative space, as well as nurturing new composers and locally-based young musicians.”
The award will be used for a wide range of activities, including working with partners such as Ujima, Bristol Reggae Orchestra, BCFM and the Asian Arts Agency to reach all of Bristol’s communities, and securing more performances from black and minority ethnic (BAME) artists and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Children’s music will see a boost too, with support for St George’s Cosmos Children’s Community Choir for school children living in disadvantaged areas, and also for the high profile annual Hoo Ha! free family festival at Colston Hall.
For young people looking to develop a career in music, there will be support for the Young Companies in Residence programme, run by Bristol Plays Music, the music education hub based at Colston Hall. This programme works with 250 children and aims to give talented young musicians and singers a world-class music education to encourage a professional career in music.
Multi-Track, Bristol Plays Music’s new into-industry programme for aspiring urban artists will also benefit from the funding, along with St George’s work providing support for local refugee artists.
This is the second successful bid to ACE for the two organisations, who were previously awarded £975,000 over three years in 2014 and given National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status, which was the first time that music had been recognised and supported in this way by the Arts Council.