‘Learning music should be a right, not a privilege’ says Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

24 February 2022, 11:01 | Updated: 24 February 2022, 11:03

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan spoke at last night’s concert
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan spoke at last night’s concert. Picture: London Music Fund

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

The Mayor of London spoke about the “remarkable power” of music during a speech at the 10th anniversary of the London Music Fund, supported by Classic FM.

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The London Music Fund (LMF), founded in 2011, celebrated its delayed 10-year anniversary at the Southbank Centre, London last night.

In attendance was the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who spoke about the role music education has in the lives of young Londoners today.

The LMF has invested over £3.5 million into music education in London since it was founded, and has funded over 600 musicians through their four year scholarship programme, as well as funding 50 projects which have in turn reached 10,000 young Londoners.

“Behind these figures are lives that have been enriched,” Khan reminded the audience. “Music has a remarkable power to bring people together, broaden horizons, and even change lives. That’s why it’s so vital that all young Londoners have the opportunity to access musical education.

“Learning music should be a right, not a privilege.”

Read more: ‘We want every child to get the chance to play a musical instrument’ – Sir Keir Starmer

Musicians from across every London borough performed on stage
Musicians from across every London borough performed on stage. Picture: London Music Fund

Last night’s event was made up of performances from various London Music Fund projects and scholars, and presented by saxophonist, broadcaster and LMF Ambassador, YolanDa Brown.

Sponsored by Classic FM, the concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall ranged from new improvised pieces by the young people involved in the projects, to arrangements of popular pieces of jazz and classical music. To close the concert, young musicians from every London borough performed the world premiere of a new arrangement of Rachel Portman’s A Celebration, which was originally written for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in 2012.

The 150 young musicians who performed were mostly under the age of 18, and were supported by programme leaders and ambassadors during the concert. One of these ambassadors was clarinettist Julian Bliss, who has inspired a new generation of young players through the creation of a series of affordable clarinets.

“The next Dave, Dua Lipa, Little Simz, or indeed Julian Bliss could be among the crowd we’re seeing tonight,” Khan said after watching a wind ensemble performance led by Bliss.

Read more: ‘We’re breaking through slowly!’ – Rachel Portman, Oscar-winning ‘Emma’ composer

In the joint programme introduction from the chair and co-founder of the LMF, Baroness Fleet Veronica Wadley CBE, co-founder Richard Morris, and chief executive Chrissy Kinsella, the trio wrote that “the importance of music education is greater than ever.

“As we look to the future, we are ambitious and optimistic about what can be achieved. We are determined to enable thousands more young people across London to have access to... music education”.

The Mayor of London echoed this sentiment as he concluded his speech, saying: “All of us want more young Londoners to experience the joys, the benefits and the magic of music.

“I don’t want to see any young person in our city who aspires to [make music], to miss out simply because of their background, upbringing, or circumstances.”

And thanks to the work the LMF has done over the last 10 years and continues to do, many young Londoners will not have to worry about missing out.