Peter Whittingham Jazz Award
Supporting emerging jazz musicians with £5,000 towards their career plans
The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award supports emerging jazz artists or groups with the creativity and ambition to build a career in music.
Since starting in 1990, it has become a prestigious and influential award, with previous winners including Xhosa Cole, Soweto Kinch, Errollyn Wallen and Roller Trio.
- £5,000 in financial support towards your work. This could include recording new material, a period of mentoring, promotional activity and much more
- one-to-one business advice, tailored to your needs and delivered via experienced music industry professionals
An additional £5,000 is also distributed between applicants demonstrating potential to make an impact in the scene. Successful applicants will also receive one-to-one business advice.
This is for jazz creators at a tipping point in their career, whose application can show us that our support will help them develop their music and careers.
We welcome applicants from all walks of life, particularly those currently underrepresented in jazz, such as women, people with disabilities, and individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds.
This support is for emerging or early career jazz musicians or groups.
To apply, you must:
- Deliver your supported activities within 12 months of accepting the grant. Please note, your activity should not start any earlier than three months from the submission of your application
- Be aged 18 or over
- Be in financial need and without significant backing (i.e. not receiving significant financial backing from a record label, publisher or private investor)
- Not have more than £16,000 in savings
- Already have an active career and be able to clearly demonstrate your work to date
- Have the right to live and work in the UK
- Currently be living in the UK
- Have a UK bank account
If you’re applying as a group:
- At least 50% of members must meet the criteria as above, including the lead applicant
- You must have been established and playing together regularly for at least one year
- Time to create (writing, composition, rehearsal, collaboration)
- Content creation (video, audio, promotional photography, artwork, design etc.)
- Manufacture and distribution
- Merchandise (design and production)
- Access to creative spaces (rehearsal and writing rooms)
- PR & Marketing (including social media campaigns)
- Mentoring (short periods of training with a leading professional in your field to improve your creative practice and skills)
- Touring & Live activity (session musician and crew fees, transport, fuel costs, sound engineer)
- Recording (studio hire, engineering, mixing, mastering)
Applications that incorporate a range of activities are strongly encouraged.
An additional £5,000 is distributed between applicants who demonstrate potential to make an impact in the jazz scene and each will receive half a day of business advice.
Here are the activities that we can’t currently support through this fund:
- Activities that take place within 3 months of a submitted application
- Applicants who have previously been supported through the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award
- Activities that are not primarily focused on developing a career as a musician
- Formal courses of study, training or research (including undergraduate study, postgraduate study, year-long courses, costs associated with PhD study)
- Regular 1 – 1 lessons
- Costs relating to the purchase of musical instruments (including laptops) and/or the upgrade/maintenance of existing instruments
- Applications where equipment costs are more than 50% of grant
- Applications that are solely for visas and/or carnets
- Costs associated with entering into competitions
- Activities that have already occurred
- Attendance at showcases already supported by the PRS for Music Foundation International Showcase Fund or similar funding opportunities in the nations (SXSW CMJ, A3C, Womex, Reeperbahn, Folk Alliance International, MIDEM Canadian Music Week)
- We will not support musicians with costs towards planned tours or live performances in Russia or Belarus with state-sponsored and/or state-funded venues or companies
Stage One: Application
To make an application you will need to have an account on our new application portal. Register & Apply
Before you begin, read through our guidance on navigating the application portal, including information on how to update your registration and banking details within your profile and how to create and submit your application. If you have any further questions when making an application via the application portal, please contact us at email@example.com
What are we looking for in the application?
We’re looking to understand your career in performing or creating music so far. Show us your achievements and career highlights, share what you’re proud of. Bear in mind that we won’t know you or your music, so the clearer you can be and the more examples you can give us the better! This can include performances, collaborations, tours, festivals, showcases, commissions, recent releases, reviews (inc. press quotes and radio play), evidence of your growing fanbase (mailing list subscribers, social media followers) and prizes or awards. Remember to share links to any websites or socials you want us to see.
The details of the work you’re applying for financial support towards. Remember to include a timeline and double-check that it’s achievable.
Our support is here to help you take the next step, so we’re looking to understand why this activity is crucial for your career at this point. Help us to understand what you are trying to achieve in the short and long-term through the activity and how it will benefit your progression as a music creator.
We know a budget can be tricky but it’s also incredibly useful for focusing and understanding your plans. Try to think about the costs associated with each activity in the project. Make it clear where you require financial assistance from Help Musicians, as well as elements that may be supported by other organisations or yourself.
You can find more detailed guidance and support for each question within the application form. If you have any questions about the support we can offer, want to talk through your plans, or are looking for advice about the application process, book some time to talk it through with one of the team.
You can also sign up to one of our Get Set Sessions where our team will guide you through common mistakes and top tips, equipping you to write the best possible application.
Please note: If applying after a break or a change in circumstance we will take into consideration your past achievements, but you will also need to demonstrate that you are committed to reinvigorating and sustaining your career as a music creator.
Stage Two: Artist Development Day
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an Artist Development Day at Woolwich Works in London on Monday 20 November.
This will involve an opportunity to perform in front of a panel of jazz experts as well as the chance to receive a one hour 1:1 business development session with an industry expert, and a ‘Get to know Help Musicians’ session with a member of our Engagement Team. An optional session with a performance anxiety specialist will also be offered to those wanting to receive advice on this topic prior to their performance over zoom.
Further information will be communicated to those successfully shortlisted by the end of October, but please hold this date in your diary.
You will receive a confirmation email once you submit your application form. If you haven’t received this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can check for you.
All applicants will be notified about outcomes by late November.
1990 James Nye
1992 Scott Stroman
1993 Andrea Vicari
1994 Steve Plews
1995 Errollyn Wallen
(Development Award: Peter Fairclough)
1996 Chris Batchelor
(Development Award: Michael Garrick, Adam Glasser, Alyn Shipton)
1997 Graham Collier and Mark Lockheart
1998 Martin Speake
(Development Award: Cathy Tozer, Andy Scott)
1999 Tim Whitehead
(Development Award: Veryan Weston)
2000 Paul Bartholomew and Dave O’Higgins
2001 Tom Arthurs
2002 Paul Towndrow
2003 Soweto Kinch
(Development Award: Andrew Morgan)
2005 Led Bib
(Development Award: Andy Davies, Chris Mapp, John Barwood)
2006 David O’Brien
(Development Award: Matt Calvert, Sebastien Pipe)
(Development Award: Trish Clowes)
2008 John Randall
(Development Award: Mark McKnight)
2009 No award
(Development Award: John Cervantes, Timothy Evans)
2010 World Service Project
(Development Award: Peter Edward, Joe Wright)
2011 Roller Trio
(Development Award: Chaos Collective
Special Commendation: Ayanna Witter-Johnson)
2012 Reuben Fowler
(Development Award: Ollie Howell)
2013 Phil Meadows
(Development Award: Elliott Galvin)
2014 Stretch Trio
(Development Award: Mark Pringle)
2015 Square One and Patchwork Jazz Orchestra
(Development Award: JJ Wheeler, Big Bad Wolf)
2016 Fergus McCreadie
(Development Award: David Ferris)
2017 Helena Kay (KIM Trio)
(Development Awards: Olly Chalk, Tetes de Pois and Archipelago)
2018 Alex Hitchcock
(Development Awards: Tom Smith, Sheila Maurice-Grey)
(Development Awards: Emma Johnson and Matt Carmichael)
2020 Xhosa Cole, Liam De’Tar (Yaatri), Lara Jones
(Development Award: Shirley Tetteh)
2021 Tom Ridout
(Development Awards: Olivia Murphy and Clara Serra Lopez)
2022 No award
(Development Award: Nicola Guida, Tyrone Isaac-Stuart, John Pope, Nishla Smith)
Peter Whittingham was a distinguished scientist and a keen amateur pianist, who loved the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Leonard Bernstein and Oscar Peterson.
Following his death in 1987, his family set up a charitable trust in his memory to provide an annual music award encouraging both composition and performance, to be run by Help Musicians (then the Musicians Benevolent Fund).
Over time, the award has built a reputation for investing in emerging jazz talent at a crucial time.
The Whittingham family’s much-valued involvement in the award continues. Peter son Chris chaired the selection panel until his untimely death in 2012; now Chris’s brother-in-law Clive Shelton oversees the proceedings.