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Nelson Music Festival Trust Appoints New Manager

Nelson Music Festival Trust has appointed Sophie Kelly as the new Manager of Adam Chamber Music Festival. Sophie is a dedicated arts advocate with an extensive background in event curation and management including Nelson Arts Festival, Summer Events programme, Opera in the Park, Te Ramaroa Light Festival and Upsurge Bay of Islands Arts Festival.

A former board member for Nelson Music Festival Trust, Sophie has invaluable insight into the organisation. “In 2015 I worked in a producing capacity alongside Bob on the Festival, and of course, I’ve been an appreciative audience member at numerous festivals!

“These opportunities provided me with great insight into just how special the Adam Festival is to our community, the musicians who participate, and audiences from Nelson and afar. I am excited to be joining such a strong and dynamic team to help lead the future festival programmes.”

Chair of Nelson Music Festival Trust Colleen Marshall said, “The Board has been incredibly fortunate in securing Sophie in the role. She is highly thought of nationally, and we are extremely delighted to welcome her to the position of Manager.”

Adam Chamber Music Festival is one of New Zealand’s most successful boutique festivals. With the postponement of the next Festival (from February 2021 to February 2022), the Trust created a new interim event, Adam Summer Celebration (4-7 February 2021), celebrating New Zealand chamber musicians with seven concerts over four days at Nelson Centre of Musical Arts.

As an event that attracts international artists and audiences, the Manager must deliver a festival that exceeds all expectations, creating a fully immersive atmosphere for both its performers and its audience. As a biennial event, the organisation also relies on its Manager to maintain momentum and profile throughout the full cycle.

Bob Bickerton has made a lasting impact as the Festival’s Manager for the last ten years. Colleen Marshall said, “On behalf of the Trustees I should like to express our great sadness at Bob’s decision to step down as Manager. This multifaceted role demands a professional approach and an outstanding ability to relate to people, as well as having all the skills to plan and fiscally oversee an often-challenging budget. Bob excelled on all levels, putting Adam Chamber Music Festival on the international map, and attracting music lovers and musicians to Nelson from all over the world.

“Bob is also an outstanding musician and brought a high-level understanding of performance, recording and stage management to the job. His competence in te reo Māori enhanced our presentation and tradition of hospitality towards our musicians and audiences. Bob now intends to further explore his own creative ambitions. He will be greatly missed but leaves a wonderful legacy of international recognition and success of Adam Chamber Music Festival,” Colleen said.

Bob will continue until the end of February 2021, with the Adam Summer Celebration being a handover period for Bob and Sophie.

Adam Summer Celebration has been well received since announcing its programme for February 2021. Strong ticket sales endorse the thirst for high-quality chamber music in an intimate music hall, with many travelling nationally for the event. Single tickets are still available across the programme.

Bob Bickerton – Biography

Bob has an extensive background in performing arts management having been Director of Nelson School of Music and Manager of the Dunedin Sinfonia. He has produced hundreds of concerts and festivals in New Zealand including Nelson’s first music/arts festival as part of Nelson School of Music’s centenary celebrations.

Bob was involved in the first Adam Chamber Music Festival in 1992 when he was Director of Nelson School of Music. He served on the Board of Nelson School of Music during its restoration and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2015 New Year's Honours list.

Bob is currently working in collaboration with visual artists Robin Slow and Brian Flintoff creating soundscapes featuring taonga pūoro for exhibitions.

Sophie Kelly – Biography

Sophie is a dedicated arts advocate with an extensive background in event curation and management. She is the former Festival Director of Nelson Arts Festival, Summer Events programme and Opera in the Park, as well as, more recently, Festival Director of Upsurge Bay of Islands Arts Festival and Project Manager of Te Ramaroa Light Festival.

With over 15 years’ experience staging hundreds of events, Sophie has an in-depth knowledge of arts management and event delivery including artistic selection and curation of festival programmes, project management, contracting, sponsorship & funding and financial management.

Sophie has an extensive network of contacts in the performing arts sector both internationally and nationally and a proven track record for delivering exceptional and memorable arts experiences to audiences. She is passionate about fostering the arts in our community and bringing audiences together to celebrate the joy of live performing arts experiences.

Sophie is a former Board member of Adam Chamber Festival and is currently an Executive Member of Arts Council Nelson (since 2018).

Adam Chamber Music Festival is a biennial festival in Nelson, with true collaboration at the heart of its programming of New Zealand and international artists. The Festival creates a fully immersive experience, both for its performers and its audience. Adam Summer Celebration brings that same high-quality music and performance to the stage, but with the spotlight on New Zealand artists and audiences.

Adam Summer Celebration 2021

4-7 February 2021 at Nelson Centre of Musical Arts

Adam Chamber Music Festival 2022

3-12 February 2022 at Nelson Centre of Musical Arts

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