MusicFest Aberystwyth appoints new Associate Artistic Director

MusicFest Aberystwyth’s Artistic Director, David Campbell, has announced the appointment of Nathan James Dearden​ to the new freelance role of Associate Artistic Director

Nathan Dearden joins the MusicFest Aberystwyth team in a fixed-term, freelance role until October 2021 following his work on the 2020 Aberystwyth digital summer school, in light of pandemic restrictions. As Associate Artistic Director, Dearden will work closely alongside MusicFest Aberystwyth’s Artistic Director, David Campbell, and Festival Manager, Joan Rowlands, developing ‘a bold and ambitious blended festival and summer school experience for 2021, strengthening the festival’s commitment to showcase local talent and commission Welsh music creators, and cultivating new local and national partnerships to complement the existing artistic programme’.

Originally from South Wales, Dearden has for six years been the Performance Manager at Royal Holloway University of London, where he has curated a highly successful International Concert Series. He is also a Trustee for London-based Classical Remix, an organisation which commissions composers, performers, writers, and artists to reimagine and reinterpret historic music, and is a Board Member for the Welsh Music Guild and a Mentor and Academy Member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (The Ivors). He has provided administrative, creative design and advisory services to National Youth Arts Wales, MusicFest Aberystwyth, Fidelio Trio Winter Chamber Music Festival Dublin, Chamber Music on Valentia and Beyond Borders. He has recently been appointed as Composer-in-Residence with The Choir of Royal Holloway.

Dearden is also an award-winning composer, conductor, and educator, whose music has been performed and featured by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Tippett Quartet and the Hebrides Ensemble, to name a few. In May 2020, he was awarded the inaugural Acapela Studio Award for exceptional Welsh composers from the Welsh Music Guild.

David Campbell​, Artistic Director of MusicFest Aberystwyth, said, ‘I am so delighted that Nathan Dearden has been appointed as Associate Artistic Director for Musicfest Aberystwyth. After 20 years as Director, I felt that the festival needed new energy and vision and Nathan is highly talented as a composer and conductor, but also has great skills as a planner, administrator and fund-raiser. Nathan is very well connected, especially with the key people in the Welsh music scene and he has already negotiated several important partnerships between Musicfest and other organisations. Even in these difficult times, Nathan has brought hope, vision and innovation to our Festival.’

Nathan James Dearden said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining MusicFest Aberystwyth for their 2021 season and extremely excited about these new horizons for the festival, travelling through a year that has profoundly impacted us all. I’m looking forward to joining David, Joan and the rest of the Board to develop impactful, forward-looking collaborations and showcasing the very best of music-making in Wales and bringing international artists to audiences old and new.’

Information about the 2021 festival and summer school will be released on the MusicFest Aberystwyth website and social media channels in late April 2021.