Help Musicians UK are very excited to announce 19 year old Jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie has won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award 2016. Our panel of jazz industry experts were wowed by Fergus’s musicianship and unanimously agreed that Fergus would be this year’s winner of the £5,000 award.
In 2013 and 2014, Fergus won the under 17’s Scottish Young Musician of the Year which was broadcasted on BBC Radio Scotland. He studied an Advanced Diploma in Jazz at St Andrew’s University winning the Linda Trahan Memorial Prize for performance. He is currently in his 3rd year of study on the Jazz course at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he has also been awarded the Guy Jones Award for improvisation.
Fergus’s £5,000 award will go towards recording an album in a remote Scottish setting of his own compositions, which are a fusion between Jazz and Scottish traditional music for piano trio. Fergus also intends on touring the album once this has been completed, promoting himself further afield in France, Germany and Norway.
Fergus said: "I'm very overwhelmed and grateful to have been offered the Peter Whittingham Jazz award this year - the history of the award features an incredible roster of musicians and I'm very honoured to be joining that list. I'm very excited to begin work on recording an album and putting together a tour with the support I will receive from the award and Help Musicians UK."
On the panel this year was singer Liane Carroll, guitarist and presenter of BBC TV series Rock School Deirdre Cartwright, trumpeter and record producer James McMillan and drummer Ralph Salmins. Clive Shelton, Peter Whittingham’s son in law, chaired the panel once again.
Clive Shelton, said: “Once again the panel listened to some exceptionally talented musicians. It is never a straightforward task to pick a winner from a pool of such great musicians all of whom deserve support at an early stage in their careers. However, Fergus’s lyrical and truly moving compositions based on Scottish folk music hit the right cord with the panel members. We all agreed that his stylings and command of the piano make him a worthy winner who will, no doubt, feature strongly in the Jazz community for a long time. We are delighted that he has won the Peter Whittingham award and look forward to hearing more of his music in years to come.”
The panel also gave a Help Musicians UK Development Award to Birmingham Conservatoire graduate David Ferris (pictured left). David’s award will go towards recording a set of compositions for large ensemble which are based on British poetry. David will also arrange a 6 date tour to perform these new compositions.
David said: “Whenever you have an idea for a project the hardest thing is the uncertainty as to whether you can back up your creative vision with the resources to make it happen. I’m very grateful to Help Musicians UK for giving me the starting point to make some of these ideas a reality!”
We look forward to following these two fantastic musicians and their projects. You can view past award holders of the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award here. Applications for 2017’s award will open in late September.