EMI Music Sound Foundation

EMI Music Sound Foundation is an independent music education charity, established in 1997 to celebrate the centenary of EMI Records and to improve young peoples' access to music education in the UK & Ireland.



The EMI Music Sound Foundation is delighted to announce that at our last Trustees’ meeting, on Tuesday 14th March, we were able to award over £141,000 towards musical instruments and equipment to 206 schools and individuals.

Percussion instruments, saxophones and violins topped the list of the most popular instrument requests!

If you would like help towards the purchase of musical instruments/equipment please download and complete our application form from our website homepage.


Where are they now?

7 years after receiving a grant towards a new guitar, Jack Blackmans musical career is going from strength to strength. Having recently released his third album, which has received some great reviews, he tells us little more about how his career has taken off…

‘Since being awarded the EMI Music Sound Foundation grant in 2009, I have been working hard in pursuing a career in music. The Gibson J-45 guitar that I was awarded has become such an integral part of my sound, I could not imagine performing without it. I have written many songs on the instrument and my technique has evolved as a result of it, including utilising alternate tunings and slide guitar, which is possible on a guitar of this style and quality. I have used it at hundreds of gigs and on every recording I have done so far in my career.

I recorded my first full-length album ‘River Town’ in 2011. From it, my arrangement of Blind Blake’s, ‘Police Dog Blues’ from the CD received national airplay on Paul Jones’ BBC Radio 2 radio show, and has since become a staple of my live set. The album also received positive reviews in many national music publications.

‘River Town is a remarkable record and should win legions of admirers among blues fans and fans of roots and acoustic guitar playing, showcasing, as it does, the talents of an artist about whom we shall doubtlessly be hearing a lot more over the next few years’ - Acoustic Magazine August 2011.

I reached the semi-finals of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in the years 2010 and 2011, during which I performed in concerts featuring the very best in young up-and-coming folk and roots musicians, hosted by DJ Mike Harding.

In 2012 I enrolled at Leeds College of Music and studied composition for 3 years. During this time, I recorded my second album of all original material. From it, the song, ‘Charles Walton Blues’ was chosen by BBC Radio 4 to feature in a documentary telling the story of the 1940s Charles Walton witchcraft murder on Meon Hill in Warwickshire. I was also commissioned to record the incidental music for the program.

I graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2015 with an honours degree. Since then I have been gigging regularly at venues, folk and blues clubs and festivals. In November 2016 I released my 3rd album, ‘Nearly Man’ which is currently receiving great reviews in the national music press. ‘A mix of blues and folk that slides in with a softly impressive stance and remains long after the album ends…a singer-songwriter at work delivering some seriously good music’ - FolkWords

The title track was played by ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris on his BBC Radio 2 show which prompted him to say, ‘exceptional guitarist, sounds just great doesn’t he!’

In January 2016 I established a monthly music night, ‘the Tuery Sessions’ in my hometown of Alcester, Warwickshire. It is a platform for emerging and established artists on the roots music scene to showcase their original music. In addition to this, I teach guitar at Stratford-upon-Avon high school, the Musical Box music school and to homeless and vulnerable people with the Bromford Group.’ 

To keep up to date with Jacks news please visit his website or other social media sites:



In October 2016 Jacks younger brother Euan was awarded a grant towards a new guitar, not long after receiving it Euan achieved a Distinction in his Grade 8 exam with a fantastic 94%. It seems he may be following in his brother footsteps so watch this space!





Where are they now?

With the Foundations 20th anniversary approaching in 2017, it’s great to look back and see what our beneficiaries have achieved over the years since they received their grants.

Matthew Crisp first received funding for his new instrument back in 2009 when he was 13 years old, now 7 years later he has been in contact to let us know what he has been up to since:

‘I received two grants from EMI MSF back in 2009 and 2010 towards a new violin and a new bow, which allowed me to progress faster and with more enjoyment in my violin studies. In September 2015 I began studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and I’m now beginning my second year there. It’s an absolutely wonderful place offering extensive opportunities and experiences that I’ve been able to make the most of as well as having a supportive and encouraging atmosphere and collaborative relationship between all students and staff across year groups and faculties. In February, this aspect of life at Trinity Laban is celebrated in the CoLab festival that sees two weeks of collaborative projects while all lessons stop. Last year I took part in a project that created a staged performance Darius Milhaud’s La Création du Monde.

Last year I took part in lots of outreach work that focused on engaging new audiences and improving lives in the community. Two learning and participation placements with Trinity Laban have enabled me to learn about music in the community under the guidance of Natasha Lohan with The Arts Befriending Club (a singing and social group for the over 60s) and work with year 5 pupils at Wingfield Primary School as part of a placement with Greenwich Music Hub. It has been fascinating to observe professionals in these environments and to develop my own technique alongside them. I also played in a very exciting project called Rite up Close by Five Senses Music, directed by Tom Seligman which brought Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to an audience of all ages with a participatory introduction followed by inviting audience members to sit amongst the orchestra during the performance. In the future I’m hoping to be able to make this kind of work a big part of my life. I find that being able to bring music to new audiences and to inspire the next generation is the most rewarding kind of music making.

This year I’m so looking forward to being able to get more experience in outreach work with Animate Orchestra and Junior Trinity String Time as well as more performance opportunities, competitions and masterclasses. So thank you to EMI MSF for supporting me all those years ago! Without your work and funding I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am now.’

If you have received funding from the Foundation, we would love to hear what you are up to now!

Please send any updates to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Matthew at 13 years old performing with his new instrument
Matthew performing in 2016 at the Music at Beaulieu Competition in which he won first prize  




The EMI Music Sound Foundation marked the passing of its £6 million grant distribution milestone with a musical celebration at the world famous Abbey Road studios on 13th October 2016.

Since it was launched in 1997, EMI Music Sound Foundation has provided more than 6,500 young people and schools with financial rewards, grants and bursaries to help support greater access to music education and instruments for young people across the UK & Ireland. The event attracted an audience of more than 200 guests including politicians, Foundation Trustees and supporters and music industry figures alongside prominent representatives from the Government and education sector.

The event could not have passed without the inclusion of some live music, spectacularly provided on the night by one of the charity’s beneficiaries, classical guitarist and Royal Academy of Music student Alexandra Whittingham alongside an acoustic performance from Decca recording artist Imelda May.


L-R Adam Barker - Chair of EMI Music Sound Foundation and Universal Music UK’s Director of Business Affairs / Alexandra Whittingham (performer & EMI Music Sound Foundation beneficiary) / Imelda May (performer) / Tony Wadsworth CBE – trustee EMI Music Sound Foundation

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