ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund

The International Sponsorship Fund was created in 2012 as part of ABRSM's commitment to inspire musical achievement and support music education for people from all across the world.

The fund is open to organisations outside the UK and Ireland that provide musical training, performance opportunities and teacher development, particularly where there are barriers to accessing these opportunities.

The application period for the ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2020 is now closed. Once the ISF Committee has reached a decision, recipients will be contacted and an announcement will be made on this page and across our social media channels.

2019 recipients

This year's recipients represent the range of programmes that organisations run globally to give young learners opportunities to access music tuition and develop their musical skills.

The Child’s Play India Foundation supports disadvantaged children through the provision of high quality classical music education. They currently teach violin, viola, cello, flute and piano to over 100 children in Goa, and also run a choir.

In 2018, the Foundation launched its cello project with the aim of nurturing a new generation of cellists. With support from the International Sponsorship Fund, they’ve been able to recruit overseas teachers to help with this project.

Founder and project director Dr Luis Dias says: “Thanks to support from donors like ABRSM, our cello project has over 24 students including some adult learners. We are happy that ABRSM’s gift to us will continue to fund music lessons, strings, concerts, books and music for our students.”

Access Music Project's vision is for South Africa’s youth to have equal access to opportunities in music education, the arts and culture, and the creative industries. Its centre currently provides the only way that talented children in Makhanda's historically disadvantaged schools can access formal music education and training.

The project’s interconnected model runs from primary school through to post-school level. It offers young learners an exciting, high-quality, diverse programme, teaching practical music, music literacy and theory, general music knowledge and sound technology. It provides students with a solid foundation in music as well as formal certificates that give access to further music study and career pathways.

Access Music Project's Project Director, Gareth Walwyn, states: “At the core of any good music programme must be a joyful process of music-making. Our practical programme consists of instrumental tuition and playing in ensembles, and ABRSM's partnership is very much appreciated in making these happen.”

The Ensemble de Percussion Costa Rica UNED is comprised of members of the country’s Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional and is the resident ensemble at the Universidad Estatal a Distancia. It is the lead ensemble in Costa Rica’s International Festival of Percussion Ensembles.

Through the International Sponsorship Fund we are supporting the ensemble’s outreach work with marching bands (the most popular ensemble in Costa Rica), mostly in remote communities where they do not have opportunities to access professional musical instruction. This will include workshops, as well as coaching sessions for the local conductors and teachers.

The ensemble and festival aims to spread percussion knowledge through concerts and master classes which often feature guest artists. The ensemble’s Director, Maestro Bismarck Fernández, also highlights their aim to “identify local talent and support their development as musicians”.

The Mangrove Music Initiative in Belawan provides local children aged 8 to 13, who would otherwise not have access to music education, with weekly, one-hour group instrumental lessons. Beginning with violin and cello, the ultimate aim is to build a youth community orchestra which will provide much needed social and musical opportunities for children from less fortunate backgrounds.

Director Ian Anderson says: “The initiative aims to provide a hands-on musical education on a local level, and the ultimate goal is to inspire youth music-making in neighbouring regions. The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund will help provide these young people with a feeling of belonging in an environment where they can express themselves.”

The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2019 will be supporting Mount Pleasant College’s series of six free equal-access masterclasses led by international experts, such as Helen Kruger. The workshops, for students and teachers, will focus on historically-informed performance practice (HIPP) approaches for Early Music.

The student masterclasses will focus on building musical skills in order to improve their music making and enhance their learning. The teacher masterclasses will focus on advanced HIPP professional development training. Providing high-level educational and training opportunities for both students and teachers will support those learning and leading music education programmes in Western Australia.

The Penang Jazz Society is Penang’s first organisation dedicated to promoting jazz through performance, education and community engagement.

Penang Jazz Society offers a jazz ensemble program which has set up its flagship Big Band of Penang and the supporting Youth Big Band of Penang, both of which have performed in international festivals overseas.

Penang Jazz Society also operates an education and outreach programme. Thanks to the International Sponsorship Fund, Penang Jazz Society will be holding a five-day jazz camp covering jazz theory, improvisation and ensemble playing.

Penang Jazz Society’s President/Music Director, Jerome Quah, says: “We hope the jazz camp attendees from local schools will be inspired, have great fun and feel a sense of achievement, which will help ensure the future of jazz performance in Penang.”

The Qatar Music Academy opened in 2011 to develop promising young talent from the region and create the next generation of world-class musicians. The academy provides a comprehensive music education programme, incorporating both Arab and Western classical traditions in the curriculum.

The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2019 will allow the academy to invite an overseas guest conductor to work with and inspire the academy’s youth orchestra.

The Qatar Music Academy Director Dr. Abdul Ghafour Al Heeti states: “Qatar Youth Orchestra was founded in 2014 by Qatar Music Academy and it is the first symphonic youth orchestra in Qatar. It inspires young talent, endorses professional music growth and celebrates the universal language of music with its colourful diversity. Members of the Orchestra range from ages 13 to 18 and currently embody 16 different nationalities.”

The British Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic (BritchamDR) Young Musician of the Caribbean Award is a bi-annual competition which aims to discover musical talent among young people in the Caribbean, serve as a platform for the rising stars of the future and raise the profile of classical music in the islands.

This is the first ever classical music competition for young people in the Caribbean and will be complemented by a series of workshops for young musicians in the region. The ABRSM International Sponsorship Fund 2019 will go towards the hire of a high-quality venue and accompanists for the competition.

Francesca Ortiz, Executive Director of BritchamDR, hopes the competition and masterclasses will help to encourage “a new generation of young musicians that understands the importance of music in society and the community.”

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