231 down to 27: presenting the new Emerging Excellence Artists

Last week, our King’s Cross office was overtaken by a collection of enormously talented musicians, all presenting their cases to an impressive panel in a bid to secure funding for a range of exciting projects including recording, promotion, touring, mentoring and creative development.

We can now announce that we have 27 new additions to the Help Musicians UK artist family!

Six classical ensembles, five jazz musicians, five folk and world artists and eleven songwriters/bands showed why a grant of up to £3,500 would help give their careers the boost.

12 EnsembleAmongst the 27 were 12 ensemble, a classical string ensemble featuring some of London’s top young players led by violinist Eloisa-Fleur Thom, who will use their award to develop their debut recording and to commission a new work.

Tom GreenJazz trombonist Tom Green, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, will use the funding to record and release an album with his Septet, followed by a UK tour.

Alana HendersonAlana Henderson, a cellist and singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland will be touring UK and Europe, using the award to help develop her audience across those markets.

Little BearDerry collective Little Bear will put the funding towards their forthcoming singles and a UK tour.

It was down to a team of music industry experts to whittle down a record 231 applications to a longlist of 40, some of whom had to come and pitch their proposals ‘Dragons’ Den’ style!

Panellists included multi-platinum selling songwriter and record producer Martin Sutton, singer-songwriter and composer Gwyneth Herbert, artist manager and owner of RedGrape Records Kerry Harvey-Piper, pianist and founder of Edition Records Dave Stapleton, Director of Film & TV UK/Europe at ASCAP Simon Greenaway, former Director of the City of London Festival Ian Ritchie, Nick Keynes and the Guardian’s Classical Music Editor Imogen Tilden.

Have you had chance to read our latest blog? Hear what panellist Martin Sutton has to say about making it as a songwriter.  

Since launching in 2012, the awards have supported nearly 100 rising stars across many genres of music. David Sulkin OBE, Executive Director of Help Musicians UK said

“Making it as a musician is a difficult thing if you don’t have the funding to get you off the ground. Our Emerging Excellence Awards give a financial boost to young professionals with the best ideas. We are very excited to be supporting such vibrant and ambitious talent”.

The selected artists:

12 ensemble

Abi Wade

Alana Henderson

ANIMA Collective

Berkeley Ensemble


Cut Ribbons




George Jackson

Henry Spencer and Juncture


JP Cooper

Little Bear


Nordic Giants

Robin Adams

Scott Wood Trio

Simon Desbruslais

Space F!ght

Sullivan & Gold


The Artisans

Tom Green

Tom Millar


We would like to say an enormous thank you to our panellists and advisors who gave up their time to work through the 231 applications.

Stage 1 advisors: Simon Lepper, Alasdair Tait, Dave O’Higgins, Ed McKeon, Marcus O’Dair, Alex Rudd, Alex Martin, Giaco Bridgett, Terry O’Brien, Generator, Small Green Shoots and Urban Development

Stage 2 panellists: Gwyneth Herbert, Paul James, Ian Ritchie, Dave Stapleton, Imogen Tilden, Simon Greenaway, Kerry Harvey-Piper, Nick Keynes and Martin Sutton

If you would like to apply to become an Emerging Excellence artist, the next round of applications will open on 1 May 2014. Visit the Talent page for more information. 

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Who we have helped

“Without the help from Help Musicians UK, I would not have been able to afford to study as a member of the Royal College of Music International Opera School; preparing me for a career in opera.”

Soraya, 29, Singer