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Birmingham Contemporary Music Group chair Stephen Saltaire to retire after 15 years

Retirement coincides with moves to develop links between BCMG and city’s business community

Stephen Saltaire

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is looking for a new chairman after Stephen Saltaire announced he will retire.

Mr Saltaire’s retirement coincides with moves to develop investment links between BCMG and the city’s business community.

His 15-year tenure as chairman leaves BCMG in a healthy position despite the current difficult financial climate for arts organisations, with income diversification and private philanthropy a major focus.

He said: “When Birmingham Contemporary Music Group was founded in 1987 it was a golden age for culture in the city.

“The region was investing heavily in the arts, Simon Rattle was at the helm of a resurgent City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (from which BCMG sprang) and plans for a new world class concert hall were coming to fruition.

“Through visionary thought and astute investment, the foundations were laid for a thriving arts scene that has remained bouyant, even in choppy – and recently downright stormy – financial waters.”

Mr Saltaire graduated from the London School of Economics in 1979 and spent 22 years working in various roles for the venture capital and private equity group 3i.

Since 2001 he has worked as a strategic and financial advisor and non-executive director to a number of independent companies across a wide range of sectors, mostly on behalf of institutional shareholders.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in rehearsal(Image: Photo: Clive Barda/ArenaPAL)

“Over the last 15 years of my chairmanship, the financial landscape has vastly altered,” added Mr Saltaire.

“In order to sustain BCMG’s pioneering work, we have worked hard to diversify our income streams – we raise twice the national average amount of private philanthropic income, measured as a percentage of total income.

“Whoever succeeds me as chair of BCMG will start on a sure footing and can continue the excellent progress that has been made.

“However there is still a great deal of work to be done, particularly in securing greater diversity of income in the future. I firmly believe that the city’s arts organisations can and should work with our business community; by working together we can strengthen Birmingham’s reputation as a great place to live, work and invest.”

Approaching its 30th anniversay in 2017, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group was founded by a group of musicians from the CBSO with Sir Simon Rattle as a founding patron. BCMG supports composers and musicians by commissioning and promoting new classical music.

Recent BCMG highlights include the European premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest with Thomas Adès; 80th birthday concerts for Harrison Birtwistle last year with Oliver Knussenson Birtwistle in Birmingham, Cambridge, and the BBC Proms and Barbican Centre in London; and the premiere of David Lang’s giant participatory work Crowd Out for 1,000 voices, co-commissioned with Spitalfields Festival in London and the Berliner Philharmoniker.

An event on May 14 hosted by Wragge Lawrence Graham and Co will give business leaders and other influential individuals the opportunity to listen to Anthony Bolton, the well-known investment fund manager, and Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music.

Hosted by Mr Saltaire, Jonathan Chamberlain (BCMG Trustee and partner at Wragge) and Stephen Newbould (BCMG Artistic Director), the reception will celebrate BCMG’s contribution to Birmingham’s cultural and civic life and showcase the opportunities and benefits of investing further in the arts.

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