About Music at Beaulieu
A Wide Range of Wonderful Music
Music at Beaulieu is a Charitable Trust which organises regular concerts each year in the unique setting of Beaulieu Abbey Church, admired as much for its acoustics as for its architecture.
The Trust has grown in fewer than 50 years from what its founder and first chairman, Michael Pelham, now its Life President, described as its small beginning – “a small song recital to raise a little money for the church”.
The trust is now a thriving organisation run entirely by volunteers which, in addition to supporting the Beaulieu Abbey Church has other specific objectives: providing concerts of a high, even international, standard at a reasonable cost and supporting outstanding young musicians from the New Forest area, with a competitive Awards Scheme, generously funded by local Sponsors.
Over the years, Music at Beaulieu audiences have heard established international stars including The King’s Men – Choral Scholars And Organ Scholar Of King’s College Cambridge, Tenebrae Consort, Stars Of Trinity Laban and Axel Trolese, as well as local orchestras, groups and choirs including cathedral choirs from Winchester, Salisbury, Portsmouth and Chichester. A highlight each summer is the popular ‘Glyndebourne at Beaulieu’ organised jointly with the Wessex Glyndebourne Association.
Not all the music is classical; jazz and swing concerts feature regularly in the annual programmes. In this way, Music at Beaulieu has continued the traditional link between Beaulieu and Jazz that was established by Lord (Edward) Montagu with renowned figures including Samantha Carrasco, Piccadilly Dance Orchestra and Spitfire Sisters.
The Trust is supported financially by its audiences and also by local Sponsors who give generous help towards individual concerts. This enables the Trust to plan an ambitious programme of concerts each year, which can be realised only through the dedicated help of its supporters and volunteers.
The Music at Beaulieu Trust
Music at Beaulieu is a registered charity No.1080651.
Over £260,000 has been disbursed since Music at Beaulieu started. In addition to the Awards, we have helped the church in a wide range of matters musical - overhauling the wonderful late 19th century Walker organ, music and equipment for the Church choir and audio equipment.
Music at Beaulieu was able to make a substantial contribution to building the church hall and has provided some very down to earth items - repairing the heating boilers, CCTV for the organist, helping buy a lawnmower, a photocopier and new chairs - all to serve the church and the local community.
A committee of volunteers and a large number of voluntary helpers, organise the concerts, run the Box Office, distribute posters, provide refreshments at the concerts, seek sponsorship, manage the website and contribute in many other ways.
Sir Anthony Evans: Chairman
Margaret Marshall: Secretary/Concert Manager
John Graves: Treasurer
Robert Gayner: Sponsorship Secretary
Dinah Le May: Contracts, Box Office and Email
Maria Jose Serres-Rouse: Online presence
Phil Daish-Handy: Awards Manager
Martin Penrose: Artistes Booking
Revd. John White: Rector of Beaulieu Abbey Church
The Beaulieu Abbey Church
Music at Beaulieu hosts all the concerts in the wonderfully evocative setting of Beaulieu’s 800 year-old Abbey Church, once the refectory of the Cistercian Abbey of Beaulieu, with its splendid acoustics and in the heart of the New Forest National Park.
The monastery at Beaulieu was founded in 1204 by King John and its Abbey Church was dedicated to Saint Mary in 1246. Most of the Abbey fell into ruins after the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII but the domus, cloisters and refectory survived. They are situated at the north end of the church, through the glass doors, and are part of the Beaulieu Estate.
In 1538 the refectory of the original abbey was re dedicated to The Blessed Virgin and Holy Child and became the parish church of Beaulieu and it has remained so.
Inside the church, especially if the sun is shining, you will probably notice that the church is not oriented to the east in the usual way. Instead, because it was the refectory, positioned on the south side of the original abbey cloisters, the church lies north to south with the altar at the south end.
Over the years, several changes have been made: formation of a chancel and sanctuary, construction of a gallery chapel and vestries, importation of oak pews, and installation of a Walker pipe organ which is a delight to play. (The Walker organ was installed in 1858 according to Captain Widnell's Beaulieu Record page 245). More recently a splendid oak-framed church hall has been added, forming a harmonious addition to the ancient building.
Music at Beaulieu is always looking for volunteers to manage concerts, help set them up, act as stewards at concerts, help host the performers and assist with the many other background jobs.
If you would like to find out more and explore becoming involved, please fill the form below and tell us how you would like to help.