Wiltshire Music Centre is to be under new leadership from 1st November, as current Chief Executive Maud Saint-Sardos takes a new post as Cheffe des Productions Pédagogiques at the prestigious Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon, near her hometown in France.
Maud joined Wiltshire Music Centre in 2017 and has since drawn on her first career in finance and project management for global banking corporations to strengthen and grow the Centre’s operations as a professional concert hall, community centre and creative learning hub.
During Maud's tenure as Chief Executive, the Centre’s portfolio of Creative Learning and Community Engagement activities has doubled in scale. Flagship projects include county-wide partnership project, Celebrating Age Wiltshire, which supports the wellbeing of isolated older people through arts and culture activities, and recently received a £385,500 National Lottery Community Fund grant to support Phase 2; and a new partnership with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra to provide progression routes for young jazz players through the Wiltshire Jazz Academy.
In 2018, Wiltshire Music Centre became the first new venue to host national disability arts festival, Fast Forward, in partnership with Bristol Music Trust, celebrating innovative approaches for accessible participatory practice, including the Centre’s own award-winning Zone Club for young learning disabled adults. In the same year, a new annual community festival Big Family Music Day was launched which established an inclusive, intergenerational offer for families to enjoy exploring new music-making opportunities at the Centre.
In addition, new investment in energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the venue, supported through a successful £100,000 20th Anniversary Appeal, a new state-of-the-art hearing loop to enable greater accessibility, and more recently the major digital transformation of the Centre’s recording studio into a professional broadcast suite to enable high quality livestreaming will remain visible reminders of the Chief Executive’s bold and ambitious leadership.
The Chief Executive’s work ‘behind the scenes’ adds to her considerable legacy; supporting the professional development and expansion of the Centre’s staff team, integration of new Box Office systems, policy and procedures to support the Centre’s commercial activities, compliance and more rigorous financial management. This work which was undertaken as part of an ambitious three-year business plan has underpinned the Centre’s ability and agility to respond to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am enormously proud to have been part of such a significant period in Wiltshire Music Centre’s history and to have worked with my colleagues, Friends and supporters of the Centre to lay the foundations for a vibrant and exciting next chapter. As for all arts organisations at the moment, the challenges ahead are substantial, both financially and artistically. The last six months have brought us all to rethink the way that we make, learn and enjoy music, but that in itself presents a creative opportunity that I know James and the team will do a brilliant job of embracing at WMC.” - Maud Saint-Sardos, Chief Executive
From 1st November, Artistic Director and Deputy Chief Executive, James Slater will take over as Interim Chief Executive, pending a public recruitment process next year. James is founder and former Artistic Director of the Mid-Wales Chamber Orchestra, and took over as Artistic Director at WMC from Keith Nimmo in 2013.
“I am delighted and honoured to take on the responsibility of leading the Centre as Interim Chief Executive. It has been very exciting to work with Maud over the past three years and her ambition, drive and boundless energy will be hugely missed by all of us. Thanks to her extraordinary achievements the next chapter for the Centre is looking bright as we launch our autumn season and continue to develop new ways to engage and inspire our local communities.” - James Slater, Artistic Director and Deputy Chief Executive