Director of Somerset House Trust joins our January forum
Above: Jonathan Reekie of Somerset House Trust (courtesy Somerset House Trust)
We are delighted to welcome back the Director of Somerset House Trust, Jonathan Reekie, CBE, who is also Chair of the Strand Aldwych Project Board, to join our 'Making of the Modern City' forum this month. He will talk about the success of the re-modelling of the Aldwych and Strand areas of London.
The multi-million pound traffic calming measures agreed by Westminster City Council in late 2020 have recently been completed and they will ensure new place-making in this traditionally busy part of the capital and allow for arts events and festivals to take place.
LDA Design which will also take part in our event, has been describing the project:
' This significant London project demonstrates a shift in how we view our city streets. For the first time, it links some of the capital’s most important cultural and educational centres by establishing a new social space that neighbouring institutions, including King’s College London, the London School of Economics, Somerset House, and The Courtauld Institute, can share for art, performances, events or even rehearsals, connecting the public and local communities with exciting new experiences and learning – a place for the curious of mind. Bringing the space immediately to life will be the VoiceLine, an installation by Somerset House Studios resident artist Nick Ryan which integrates sound clips from the BBC archives and marks the broadcaster’s 100th anniversary.'
Jonathan began his career at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and then went to be General Manager at the Almeida Theatre in Islington London, founding Almeida Opera. In 1997 he took over as Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music where he remained until 2014, a transformational period for the organisation culminating in the Britten Centenary celebrations. In 2014 he became Director of Somerset House Trust.
He has also previously been a trustee to Musica nel Chiostro Batignano, an arts adviser to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and is currently a trustee of the Arts Foundation. He has an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of East Anglia, is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and in 2013 was awarded a CBE for services to music.
Somerset House is London's Working Arts Centre, home to over 400 resident organisations from one person start-ups to artist studios and Makerversity, which ensures it is one of the largest communities of arts and creative enterprises in the UK.
The building also holds the Courtauld Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings with iconic works by Manet, Degas, Monet, van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne. The Gallery re-opened in 2021 after a major redevelopment project. Courtauld Connects has enabled a transformation of the building and assets into a world-class experience, with an extensive digitisation of 3.3 million images from the Courtauld's collection making these available for the first time, as well as a restoration of the spectacular Great Room, improved access, learning facilities, and creation of a new cafe and shop.