UK Charity to release 20 short films on access to music education

To mark its 20th anniversary Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) is to release 20 short films on the value of music education for children from low-income families. The charity was established in 1998 with the proceeds of Robert Lewin’s collection of stringed instruments, bows and books and offers youngsters support with networking, opportunities, instruments, financial support and access to instruments.

Simon Rattle, AYM’s first patron, said: “Every child deserves the chance to make the most of their potential in life. The barriers are high if a family is struggling financially and if life is challenging in other ways too. AYM makes a musical life possible for everyone, no matter where they come from, and these films demonstrate the impact that this kind of support can have.”

Featured in the series is AYM’s youngest ever patron Jess Gillam, who became the first saxophonist to reach the final of the BBC Young Musician Competition in 2016. “Music is such a part of who we are as humans, it’s a way in which we express ourselves,” she said. “Every child should have the opportunity to experience it.”

AYM chairman Philip Jones added: “We spoke to young people ranging from secondary school students to those in their early thirties, all of whom have been financially supported by AYM at one time or another. Some pursued a career in music, while others chose an entirely different career path. What they have in common is a life enhanced by access to music education. We wanted to share their stories.”

Duncan Ward © Maurice Foxall

Duncan Ward © Maurice Foxall

The films will be published on the AYM website in the coming months. Contributors include 22-year-old Zara Hudson-Kozdoj, cellist at Chineke orchestra; 29-year-old clarinettist Julian Bliss, who designed affordable clarinets as a side project; 28-year-old violinist Jennifer Pike, who made history aged 12 when she won BBC Young Musician in 2002; and conductor 28-year-old Duncan Ward, who was invited by Rattle to Berlin as a conducting scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie 2012-14.

The youngest musicians to appear in the films are 12-year-old bassoonist Kwasi Sefa-Attakora; 12-year-old Celtic Clarsach harp player Meredith Kiemer; and 13 year-old violinist Maya Moh.

Philip Jones AYM chairman said: “We spoke to young people ranging from secondary school students to those in their early thirties, all of whom have been financially supported by AYM at one time or another. Some pursued a career in music, while others chose an entirely different career path. What they have in common is a life enhanced by access to music education. We wanted to share their stories

The first four films to be released are Jess Gillam, Jennifer Pike; Myla Newell and Kwasi Sefa Attakora.

The charity will also hold a fundraising event at Wilton’s Music Hall in London on 29 October 2018. Young people from AYM will share join alumni and patrons for a special 20th anniversary performance.

a-y-m.org.uk

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