The Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians is launched

Boris Johnson has announced a new music charity, which will raise £2m by March 2012 to boost music education for children in London. The charity, The Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians, will provide children who have significant musical talent and commitment, with outstanding opportunities. Four hundred children, aged 7-11, across the 33 London boroughs* will be awarded music scholarships and will be selected on the basis of commitment, talent and financial need.

The four-year scholarships will provide the selected children with an outstanding chance to progress their music education, with small group instrumental tuition, access to instruments and Saturday music school, individual mentoring and regular performances.There will also be the opportunity for around 10,000 children, up to the age of 18, to enhance their music education by working alongside professional musicians. This ‘Partnership’ scheme is an extension of an existing GLA pilot project.

The Mayor, who is the Founder Patron recently ( May 12)  hosted a reception attended by top musicians, composers, impressarios and some of London’s leading philanthropists to launch the initiative. He said: ‘ Music can transform the lives of young people from all backgrounds, enriching the mind, teaching valuable skills and discipline and importantly, providing a source of invaluable self expression, personal enjoyment and life enhancing career options. If a young Londoner has a talent for music and the commitment to progress, I want them to be able to do so regardless of their starting point. The Mayor’s Fund for London’s Young Musicians will help to make this not just an aspiration but a reality for those who could otherwise be overlooked’.

The charity is born out of the Mayor’s Music Education Strategy, a key strand of The Mayor’s Cultural Strategy 2012 and beyond and is in line with the recommendations in the recently published Henley Review of Music Education. Munira Mirza, Mayoral Advisor on Arts and Culture, added: ‘We know that music education can have a hugely positive impact on a child’s life but sadly there are many families who simply cannot afford it. The Fund is an ambitious initiative that will transform access to music education in London and with it, help improve the lives of many disadvantaged young people’.

Patrons attending the reception included Raymond Gubbay CBE and Oscar winning composer Rachel Portman.

Trustees attending included Sir John Tusa, Lord Black of Brentwood, also trustee of the Royal College of Music, Jonathan Moulds, President (EMEA & Asia) of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Trustee of the LSO, Peter Millican of Kings Place and Lord Marland. The chairman of the Fund is Sir John Baker, the Vice-Chairman is Richard Morris who spoke at the launch.

With pledges in excess of £150,000, guests included Lady Hamlyn, Lady Forte, Lorraine Spencer, Anthony Bolton, Simon Robey and Lady Rothermere.