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Louise Mitchell awarded top international accolade

Louise Mitchell, chief executive of Bristol Music Trust, has been awarded one of the performing arts most coveted awards.

The Patrick Hayes award is awarded annually by the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) to an individual of long standing who continues to achieve exceptional results in arts management. It is eight years since the award, which was received by Louise in New York this week (12 Jan), was brought home to the UK.

Bristol Music Trust was set up in 2011 to manage Bristol’s Colston Hall, the largest concert hall in the South West of England, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017.  It currently attracts audiences of over 300,000 a year to the 15,000 annual arts, culture and music performers who play there. It is also the only professional performance in the UK that is home to a music education hub – Bristol Plays Music – which is responsible for delivering music education to 130 schools across Bristol.  Louise is accountable for an annual turnover of £11.5m in 2015/16 and is currently leading an ambitious £45m programme to transform the iconic venue into a national centre for entertainment, education and enterprise.

She has worked in music and the arts for nearly 40 years: as Assistant Director for Edinburgh International Festival, Music Programme Manager for the Barbican, Concert Director for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Director of Glasgow’s Concert Halls. She was also the founding Director of Glasgow UNESCO City of Music from 2009-11.

Louise is also a Director of the British Association of Concert Halls; Honorary Secretary of the Royal Philharmonic Society; a board member of Destination Bristol, the British Paraorchestra and the Association of British Orchestras and is an Orchestral Advisor to the Scottish Government.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an experienced choral singer, having taken part in performances all over Europe.

Louise says:

“It is a huge honour to receive the Patrick Hayes Award and I am extremely grateful to the ISPA for awarding it to me. I have always been passionate about music and the arts and I consider myself very fortunate for having been able to make my career out of it. I have been involved in some fabulous projects over the years, not least my current one, which involves the not insignificant task of raising £45 million to transform Bristol’s Colston Hall into an international standard concert venue and the UK’s first Centre of Advanced Training for young musicians with special educational needs and disabilities.”

Recent former winners of the prize include Linda Brumbach, founder of Pomegranate Arts in New York, Susan Stockton, former President of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Centre in Wisconsin and Benson Puah, CEO of Singapore’s national performing arts centre Esplanade Theatres.

The last time it was awarded to a UK public figure was in 2009, to international artist manager Robert Gilder.

ISPA is a global network of more than 400 leaders in the performing arts with representation from more than 50 countries and all regions of the globe.  This award is the only award from an ISPA member to an ISPA member and was established by the founding president.