MusicFest Aberystwyth’s Artistic Director, David Campbell, today announces the appointment of Nathan James Dearden​ to the new freelance role of Associate Artistic Director. This post is a fixed-term, freelance role until October 2021.

Dearden joins the MusicFest Aberystwyth team following his successful work implementing and enriching our 2020 digital summer school, in light of pandemic restrictions. As Associate Artistic Director, Dearden will work closely alongside MusicFest Aberystwyth’s Artistic Director, David Campbell, and Festival Manager, Joan Rowlands, developing a bold and ambitious blended festival and summer school experience for 2021, strengthening the festival’s commitment to showcase local talent and commission Welsh music creators, and cultivating new local and national partnerships to complement the existing artistic programme. The new role will be responsible for devising and delivering these as well as nurturing the Festival’s relationship with new and longstanding funding and collaborative partners.

Originally from South Wales, Dearden has for six years been the Performance Manager at Royal Holloway University of London, where he has curated a highly successful International Concert Series featuring some of the world’s finest classical musicians and established meaningful partnerships with Young Classical Artists Trust, Chamber Music on Valentia and Contemporary Music for All (CoMA) to bring an exciting and diverse range of talent to the series. He is also a Trustee for London-based Classical Remix, an organisation which commissions composers, performers, writers, and artists to reimagine and reinterpret historic music, plus is a Board Member for the Welsh Music Guild and a Mentor and Academy Member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (The Ivors). As a sought-after Arts Advisor and Digital Marketer, he has worked with several music groups plus has provided administrative, creative design and advisory services to National Youth Arts Wales, MusicFest Aberystwyth, Fidelio Trio Winter Chamber Music Festival Dublin, Chamber Music on Valentia and Beyond Borders.

Described as “a champion of his generation” and whose music is “hauntingly beautiful’ (Media Wales), Dearden is also an award-winning composer, conductor, and educator, whose music has been performed and featured by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Tippett Quartet and Hebrides Ensemble, to name a few. His music regularly features in concerts across the UK and overseas, including at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Dartington International Festival, CROSSROADS International New Music Festival and Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music. He has recently collaborated with Making Music UK and Swansea Philharmonic Choir for a BBC Radio 3 broadcast of his 3 postcards, released Morals + Interludes with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain on the NMC Digital label, been shortlisted to represent Wales at the 2021 International Society for Contemporary Music symposium in Shanghai, and has recently been appointed as Composer-in-Residence with The Choir of Royal Holloway. In May 2020, he was awarded the inaugural Acapela Studio Award for exceptional Welsh composers from the Welsh Music Guild.

David Campbell​, Artistic Director of MusicFest Aberystwyth said: ​

I am so delighted that Nathan Dearden has been appointed as Associate Artistic Director for Musicfest Aberystwyth. After 20 years as Director, I felt that the festival needed new energy and vision and Nathan is highly talented as a composer and conductor, but also has great skills as a planner, administrator and fund-raiser. Nathan is very well connected, especially with the key people in the Welsh music scene and he has already negotiated several important partnerships between Musicfest and other organisations.

Even in these difficult times, Nathan has brought hope, vision and innovation to our Festival.”


Nathan James Dearden said: ​

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining MusicFest Aberystwyth for their 2021 season and extremely excited about these new horizons for the festival, travelling through a year that has profoundly impacted us all. I’m looking forward to joining David, Joan and the rest of the Board to develop impactful, forward-looking collaborations and showcasing the very best of music-making in Wales and bringing international artists to audiences old and new”.


More information about our 2021 festival and summer school will be released on our website and social media channels in late-April 2021.