Saffron Hall chief executive wins Concert Hall Manager of the Year

Angela Dixon wins an award

Angela Dixon wins an award - Credit: Archant

Angela Dixon, the chief executive of Saffron Hall, the town’s prestigious classical music venue, has been named Concert Hall Manager of the Year in the Association of British Orchestras/Rhinegold Awards.

The awards, which honour the backstage heroes of the classical music industry, were presented by Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor at the association’s conference dinner last night (Wednesday, January 20).

The citation noted that Ms Dixon gave up a prestigious role as head of music at the Barbican to take up her post at Saffron Hall, an award-winning 740-seat performance space built in the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School.

The judges said: “Her management of the venue since she became its chief executive in March 2014 has won her the award.”

It added: “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.

“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 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.”

Accepting the award, Ms Dixon said the excellence of the hall allowed the combination of engaging international artists with using the hall for learning and serving the community.

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She said: “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 the artists and orchestras who have made our first two seasons such a success.”

The ABO is the national body representing the interests of professional orchestras, youth ensembles and the wider classical music industry in the UK.

The Yellow Car Charitable Trust was founded in 2008 to make grants to projects offering educational and social benefits. Based in Saffron Walden, it has a particular interest in supporting initiatives that benefit the local community. The building of Saffron Hall was conceived by, and made possible as a result of, substantial grants from the trust.

At a cost of £10million it is believed to be the biggest gift ever to a British state school.