We were founded in 1921, in memory of an English tenor called Gervase Elwes (pictured), who died tragically in a railway accident. During his life he had shown compassion and kindness to his colleagues and following his death, his friends set up a fund in his name, which in 1930 became the Musicians Benevolent Fund. During the first year, 11 grants were made totalling £90.
Many famous musicians have been associated with the Fund over the years, including Sir Edward Elgar who was the first President. Whilst we operated fairly modestly in our early days, the Fund received a significant financial boost when Myra Hess, the pianist, donated the proceeds of her legendary concert series which ran throughout World War 2 at the National Gallery.
Since then, 90 years on, we have grown to be the largest charity of our kind in the UK. Each year nearly £2 million is given to support music professionals because of accident, illness or with the challenges of growing older. We also support more than 300 outstanding young musicians across a range of genres to enable to help them to enter the profession with the best prospects of success.