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Ian Fleming supported many young musicians through academic study to follow their dreams

It is with great sadness that everyone at Help Musicians acknowledges the passing of Ian Fleming, aged 88. Without Ian’s generous support, hundreds of aspiring musicians would have been unable to afford to study at university and faced the prospect of abandoning their careers. It is no exaggeration to say that during his life, Ian had a transformative impact on not only our charity but so many talented young people.

Ian founded The Ian Fleming Charitable Trust in 1972, and the Trust’s initial focus was on supporting national charities in the fields of welfare, relief and research into human diseases. It was a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Scottish Opera however that gave him the idea of also supporting musicians. 

He stated of the occasion, I was so impressed by the performance that I felt strongly that we should extend the Charitable Trust’s support to musicians.” 

As a consequence, the Ian Fleming Charitable Trust Music Education Awards were established in 1980 in partnership with Help Musicians. Talented individual young musicians have been supported through Ian’s trust every year since, assisting with costs towards their academic study. 

Close up headshot of Miriam-Teak Lee with greenery in the background
Without charities like Help Musicians, people who are just as talented as those who can afford to go to university wouldn’t be able to get in the room. It helps profoundly to have these types of bursaries and even more should be there for the people who need them
Miriam-Teak Lee, Olivier Award winning actor

As well as opera, Ian’s passion for musical theatre was a constant throughout his life and in later years he retained a love for Les Misérables especially. To mark the twenty-first anniversary of the Trust’s awards and to celebrate Ian’s love of musical theatre, in 2001 we launched the Ian Fleming Musical Theatre Award to tailor support specifically towards musical theatre students.

Previous recipients of the Ian Fleming Charitable Trust Music Education Awards comprise some of the most gifted musicians currently working in the UK, including Help Musicians President Dame Evelyn Glennie, &Juliet musical theatre star Miriam-Teak Lee, double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE, Ambassador Tasmin Little OBE and tenor Alfie Boe OBE.

Since 1980, there have been 822 awards made through the Ian Fleming Trust and more than £2 million has been spent supporting young musicians through academic study. This generosity and commitment to making university accessible to everyone, regardless of background, will be Ian’s lasting legacy. We are saddened with his loss and offer his family and friends our condolences at this difficult time.

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