LSO’s ‘Discovery’ chief hired to jazz up Spitalfields Music festival

Eleanor Gussman

Eleanor Gussman - Credit: Spitz Music

A woman with a “passionate belief in the power of music” has been appointed to lead Spitalfields Music’s festivals and education programme.

Spitalfields Music's chairman Prof Maurice Biriotti

Spitalfields Music's chairman Prof Maurice Biriotti - Credit: Spitz Music

Eleanor Gussman, who has been eight years at the London Symphony Orchestra leading music education programmes as Head of LSO Discovery, joins the Spitalfields charity in October in the run-up to its 40th anniversary next year.

Spitalfields Music’s chairman, Prof Maurice Biriotti, newly appointed himself from this week, said: “Eleanor’s passionate belief in the power of music make her an excellent leader for our organisation.

“Her commitment to use music to inspire people and bring communities together will doubtless allow her to excel in her new role.”

The charity is preparing to mark its 40th birthday in 2016 with a “purposeful vision” for the twice-annual Spitalfields music festivals it stages.

Eleanor herself couldn’t wait to beat a path to the East End.

She said: “The organisation’s world-class education programme and its setting in the heart of East London make it irresistible.”

East End schoolkids who took over to run their own mini festival

East End schoolkids who took over to run their own mini festival - Credit: Spitz Music

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Her appointment comes at a busy time for Spitalfields Music, which organised its first Takeover Spring Festival earlier this year where pupils at three schools put together their own events.

Year 3 youngsters aged seven and eight at Stewart Headlam in Bethnal Green, Osmani in Whitechapel and Cherry Trees in Bromley-by-Bow worked with professional artists arranged by the charity to “take over” their schools for three days in February.

They put on the all-day festivals after having workshop training by artists and musicians to stage the pioneering events for Key Stage 2.

Since then, Spitalfields Music has been up to its neck in this year’s summer festival and now planning for winter.

Booking for December’s winter festival open on September 21. This year’s programme includes seasonal music from The Sixteen, The English Concert, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio performed from memory and debuts from new ensembles including early music’s Les Arts Florissants and B’Rock Belgian baroque orchestra, as well as music for young people and for babies and toddlers.