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 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


More Than 6400 Young People Gain Access to Music Education Through Charity’s Grants, Bursaries and Hardship Funds

LONDON, OCTOBER 14, 2016 – EMI Music Sound Foundation, an independent music education charity established in 1997 to support and improve opportunities for schools and young people in the UK & Ireland, has reached a £6million grant distribution milestone. EMI Music Sound Foundation has been supported since 2012 by Universal Music Group (UMG), the global parent company of EMI and its affiliate labels.

Since its founding, EMI Music Sound Foundation has provided more than 6400 young people, and numerous schools with financial awards totalling more than £6million through its unique programme of support. The Foundation is accessible to children from all backgrounds, with additional support available through its hardship fund to provide more than 250 young people in schools with music lessons each year.

The charity has long established relationships with 36 secondary schools across the country, having provided sponsorship grants that have helped institutions to specialise in teaching music and the performing arts.  It has also helped provide specialist music training for more than 200 primary school teachers across the country.

In addition, more than 500 applicants have benefitted from funding grants from EMI Music Sound Foundation’s bursary funding to eleven colleges: Royal Academy of Music, English National Opera, Royal Conservatoire Scotland, Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Centre for Young Musicians, National Children’s Orchestra, Irish World Music Centre, National Youth Jazz Orchestra and BIMM institutions in Brighton, Bristol and London. 

Adam Barker, Chair of EMI Music Sound Foundation and Universal Music UK’s Director of Business Affairs, said: “We believe that music should be a part of every child’s education and development. The EMI Music Sound Foundation is committed to providing access to music education to as many young people as possible - and from the most diverse backgrounds - for many years to come.”

Jonathan Williams, Head of Music at Stradbroke High School, Suffolk, said, “We are extremely grateful to the EMI Music Sound Foundation for having the vision to support schemes that nurture a love of music in young people. This exciting project is helping to inspire primary school pupils to learn a musical instrument.”
Sean Collins, Head of Art at Bluecoat Academy, Nottinghamshire, said, “This has given us diversity in our teaching approach for Year 7 and Year 8 - allowing students to experience using a string instrument. They have been enthusiastically used already and will be an integral part of the curriculum from now on.”

About EMI Sound Foundation
EMI Music Sound Foundation is an independent music education charity, established in 1997 to improve young peoples’ access to music education in the UK & Ireland. The Foundation has helped over six thousand schools, young people and teachers improve their access to music through the purchase of musical instruments and equipment and bursaries to over 500 music students around the UK to help with fees and living costs.  The charity has supported 36 specialist Performing Arts schools and has given over £6 million in donations, to date. Find out more at: http://www.emimusicsoundfoundation.com/

About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com 

Bursary news at National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO)

The Foundation are pleased to announce they have granted a 3 year bursary to the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) starting this October.

NYJO is Britain’s longest-running organisation for young people up to 25 playing big-band jazz. Formed 50 years ago to fill a gap in jazz education, its mission is to encourage exceptional musicians, to excite audiences and engage with young people of all backgrounds around the country. It offers unique opportunities for its members to perform nationally and internationally and to promote jazz to the widest possible audience while they themselves are at the beginning of their musical careers.

NYJO will be the 11th recipient of Foundation bursaries and joins the following:

• Centre for Young Musicians, London
• English National Opera’s Evolve programme
• International World Music Centre, Limerick
• Royal Conservatoire Scotland
• Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
• Royal Academy of Music, London
• Birmingham Conservatoire
• Brighton Institute of Modern Music
• BIMM London
• National Children’s Orchestra

Nigel Tully, Executive Chair of NYJO said:
“This is very good news for NYJO, and recognition of the vital role the orchestra plays in nurturing emerging UK jazz talent. Both NYJO and EMI Music Sound Foundation are passionate about improving young people’s access to music education, and this important new partnership reflects our shared goals.”


The EMI Music Sound Foundation is once again delighted to announce a snapshot of the latest recipients we have helped.

At our last Trustees’ meeting on Wednesday 16th March 2016, we were able to award over £168,000 towards musical instruments and equipment for more than 310 new beneficiaries, both schools and individuals.

EMI MSF has now awarded £6 million towards music education. This year we have helped to fund instruments/equipment across all of the different families, the most popular of which were percussion instruments and keyboards.

If you think we could help you and you would like to apply for funding at our next Trustees Meeting in October 2016, please download and complete the application form on the homepage.

The deadline for the next round of applications is Tuesday 30th August 2016.


Sir George Martin


The Foundation is deeply saddened by the passing of Sir George Martin, one of our founding patrons and a staunch supporter of music education.

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