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The National Centre for Early Music

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The National Centre for Early Music is the trading name of the registered charity York Early Music Foundation. It was established in 1994 to provide long-term support for the world-acclaimed York Early Music Festival and to promote complementary events through the rest of the year. The establishment of a national centre for early music at St Margaret's Church in Walmgate, York, has fulfilled the Foundation's two central aims: to provide a permanent home for the annual Festival and to establish a national focus for the study of early music.

For many years St Margaret's had lain neglected, used only as a props store by York Theatre Royal. Thanks to a grant of just over 1.5 million from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England, The National Centre for Early Music has brought this magnificent Grade One listed building back to life.

The vision was to create The National Centre for Early Music - a focal point for the study and enjoyment of early music - and to revive this neglected corner of central York. The project restored one of York's most important churches, creating a concert venue with purpose-built rehearsal and recording facilities, as well as establishing a garden for all to enjoy and appreciate. The Centre acts as a vital cultural force for the whole city of York, and for the future development of early music both in this country and throughout Europe.

St Margaret's, a twelfth century church, lies within the City walls, near Walmgate Bar, in a quiet residential area. The project repaired the fabric of this mediaeval building, including the intricate carvings on the Norman porch which had suffered from vandalism and the ravages of time. The conversion made the most of the wonderful natural acoustic of the church, creating a perfect venue for music making. The nave provides a multi-purpose space and houses the collection of keyboard instruments commissioned by the Foundation. An annexe added at the north side provides box office and office facilities. Specially commissioned artworks is incorporated in the building and local crafts people worked alongside York-based Simpson Construction, together creating a unique facility in the north of England.

The Centre is a unique educational resource. It provides an unparalleled range of opportunities for youngsters, advanced music students, professional musicians and interested amateurs to work with the leading figures in early music, through master-classes, residencies, workshops, performances, recordings and special projects.

Since its inception, the Foundation has worked with thousands of York children, working in partnership with the City of York's Performing Arts Department, Opera North, the Royal Northern College of Music, York Mystery Plays and leading exponents in the early music world.

The Centre provides a base for the York Early Music Festival and the Foundation, enabling the two organisations to extend their educational programmes and introducing the next generation to the language of music. The Centre's facilities are also an invaluable resource for local organisations.

Further details, including ways to support the National Centre for Early Music and the York Early Music Festival can be obtained by visiting the website or by writing to:

The National Centre for Early Music
St Margaret's Church

Web: http://www.ncem.co.uk