William Walton expressed his wish that the property ‘La Mortella’ should continue to live on into the future as a centre to help young musicians, as he himself had been helped by benefactors in the early years of his career. Lady Walton remembers: “When William died I immediately set myself to work to realise his wishes, to work with young musicians and promote his music. So I created the twin trusts, the 'William Walton Trust' in England and the ‘Fondazione William Walton e La Mortella’ in Italy. Then I made sure that the La Mortella would have the right structures to offer young talent the opportunity to blossom: I built the Recital Hall and the Museum. Finally I prepared the garden to open it for visits. This is how our enterprise began”.
For ten years in summer Lady Walton and the two Trusts organised Masterclasses at La Mortella, offering more than 100 young singers specialist courses at the highest level, completely without charge. Today the ‘Fondazione William Walton e La Mortella’ organises a double concert season in Spring and Autumn, thanks to which young musicians (about a hundred each year) from the music schools of Naples, Fiesole, Rome and Avellino are offered the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.
In England the William Walton Trust has been involved in musical education projects in schools, in collaboration with some of the most prestigious English orchestras. In 2002, on the centenary of the birth of William Walton, the Trust and la Fondazione were heavily involved in arrangements for worldwide events and celebrations, seminars, exhibitions and concerts. Walton’s music was played all over the world. The Prince of Wales chose that occasion to make his second visit to La Mortella in November of that year, presiding over a celebratory concert and visiting the garden.
In the year 2000 Lady Walton decided to give the gardens a new impetus, most especially to the Hillside which had previously gone almost untouched. Following a vital creative impulse, she gradually conquered and cultivated large areas that had until then had been relatively undeveloped. And so the Temple of the Sun (Tempio del Sole), The Nyphaeum (Ninfeo), and ‘La Glorieta’ were born.
A further phase began in 2004, with the purchase of an adjoining plot of land and the commencement of construction of the Greek Theatre, which has allowed the Fondazione and the Trust to launch a new music project: the staging of a wide range of concerts with full symphony orchestras, in the open air.
The construction work was completed in 2006 and a Festival for Youth Orchestras was successfully inaugurated in 2007, with the ambitious decision plan of making it an annual summer event.
In recent years, in parallel with the projects for the Greek Theatre and the music, Lady Walton has also chosen to apply massive organisational and economic efforts to making the garden accessible to those with handicaps. Such an ambition, in a garden which is essentially vertical, has posed not insubstantial planning and operational problems: the challenge was to make a system of ramps, in places assisted by lifts and services.