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Music Education Organization, Britten Pears Arts, Appoints New CEO

Andrew Comben will step into the role, following the resignation of Roger Wright after a decade at the helm

 

Based in Suffolk, England, the Britten Pears Arts aims to continue the legacy of composer Benjamin Britten and his partner, singer Peter Pears, and to promote the enjoyment and experience of music for all.

The Australian-British arts executive Andrew Comben has been appointed as the new CEO of the charitable organization, and will begin in his role in September 2024. Comben succeeds Roger Wright CBE, who previously led BPA for ten years.

Hailing originally from Australia, Comben began his career in London at the Wigmore Hall, following this with a stint as an artist manager for the Young Concert Artists Trust. For a time, Comben worked for BPA as Director of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, but returned to Wigmore Hall as Head of Artistic Planning in 2003.

Since 2008, Comben has CEO of Brighton Dome & Festival, England's largest multi-arts festival. Here, he established a Guest Director model, and invited figures such as Anish Kapoor, Laurie Anderson, Kae Tempest, Lemn Sissay, and Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Under Comben's leadership, the festival took over the management and operation of Brighton & Hove Music and Arts and East Sussex Music Service, and through these programs, the festival engages around 20,000 children and young people each week in music-making across 270 schools.

"The legacy of Britten and Pears, and the work of the organization that has grown from their vision, is a beacon for artists and audiences and for anyone passionate about the role music and the arts can play in society," Comben said. "I am honored to become the next Chief Executive of Britten Pears Arts, and I look forward to working with its brilliant staff team and Board to develop its next chapter together."

"I want to pay tribute to my predecessors, particularly Roger Wright, for their dedication to establishing the conditions for artists to do their best work and I look forward to building on their achievements," he added.

"Our appointment of Andrew brings back to Britten Pears Arts someone we know well," said Sir Simon Robey, Chair of the Board. "[Comben] has built loyal audiences in Brighton, has a great love for and commitment to the arts, and is passionate about working in the community and with young people — all things that are central to Britten Pears Arts’ work."

"There will be other occasions to mark Roger’s truly exceptional contribution to Britten Pears Arts; today is a day to celebrate the appointment of such a wonderful successor," Robey added. "The whole board joins me in welcoming him."

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