24 Musicians Benefit From Wolfson Music Grants

Note: This article refers to Leeds College of Music (LCoM), the former name of Leeds Conservatoire

By Dav Williams

Updated Posted

Leeds College of Music is proud to announce that 24 musicians will benefit from the Wolfson Music Grants scheme this academic year, thanks to a significant grant from the Wolfson Foundation.

£25,000 of the grant awarded will support fifteen of our final year undergraduate students with the purchase of new instruments, commensurate with their performance ability. The funding will facilitate the all-important transition between studying and entering the wider music industry by providing students with specialist equipment at the very beginning of their final year of study. New instruments will enable recipients to perform on professional equipment that will help them to develop their musical careers.

Current beneficiary and BA (Hons) Music (Classical) student Holly White:

Since joining the conservatoire, I have discovered that the alto flute is my niche and something I would really like to pursue throughout my career. However, being from a low-income household and not having one of my own, my opportunities for this were limited. The Wolfson Music Grant will allow me to massively develop this skill throughout my degree and my career as a whole.

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Jamil Sheriff, Programme Leader for Jazz at Leeds College of Music:

Receiving this award will make a huge difference to these students. They are all showing the resilience and commitment we know is an essential skill set for any top‐flight musician. They are a determined bunch!

Nevertheless, despite their positive attitude, each one of them will find the award to be a real boost to their confidence. At a time in their growth as practitioners and at this point in their student journey, receiving practical support to purchase the tools that will enhance and inspire them will act as a well‐deserved nudge to illustrate how proud we are to be working with them towards our shared goal of pushing the music forward.

Since LCoM joined the Wolfson Music Grants programme, 97 final year undergraduate students have benefitted from over £125,000 of funding towards instrument purchase. Many of these individuals are now working as performing artists in the wider industry.

Previous beneficiary Markus Siegel outlined:

I was able to buy a high quality digital piano thanks to the Wolfson Music Grants programme. The purchase has been an extremely crucial acquisition for my professional career. As a result of having access to a professional instrument, I was able to start teaching piano and fully support myself from music after I graduated. I would've struggled in my final year of studying and the first few years of my professional career if it wasn't for this piano.

The remaining £5,000 will contribute towards nine bursaries for our young musicians studying as part of our Junior LCoM programme. All those supported attend our Saturday Music School, which places strong emphasis on ensuring that music remains accessible to all, irrespective of social or economic background.

Joe Wilson, Director of Curriculum at Leeds College of Music commented:

We are delighted to be able to support our students as a result of this generous grant from The Wolfson Foundation. LCoM is committed to making music education accessible to all, and it is fantastic to have this support in place which will help us to develop talented young musicians, and also enable degree students to prosper in their final recitals and beyond.

Nine conservatoires across the UK – seven in England, one in Scotland and one in Wales – were earlier this year each awarded £90,000 over 3 years to continue the programme, which is now confirmed until the academic year 2021/22. Conservatoires were asked to select recipients on the basis of their exceptional musical ability and financial need, and those who receive awards have demonstrated an aptitude for performing at the highest level.


Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: 

The Wolfson Foundation is a charity that funds across education. Although perhaps best known as a science funder, we place great emphasis on research and education across a broadly based curriculum. We very much value our longstanding relationship with music conservatoires and share their concern that access to high quality music education should be available to all. It would be a tragedy if this education was simply the preserve of the privileged in our society.

This news comes in addition to the conservatoire’s removal of its audition fees for all courses, in a bid to improve the accessibility of conservatoire training for prospective students from all backgrounds. The conservatoire has taken the lead in removing all of its audition fees to ensure that talented musicians and performers are not precluded from attending an audition due to their financial position. In addition, the conservatoire is offering to refund travel expenses for applicants from low-income households, in order to reduce financial barriers within the application process. 


Find out more about the Wolfson Foundation.

If you’re interested in studying at Leeds College of Music, discover our various degree programmes.

If you’d like to become a supporter of junior department, follow this link.

By Dav Williams

We're delighted to present the next performance from our Crosswire Sessions. Recorded live at Leeds Conservatoire,… https://t.co/DsbUCQiqN8
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