RPS Enterprise Fund

We are pleased to announce the musicians receiving over £200,000 of grants from the RPS Enterprise Fund, made possible with kind support from Harriet’s Trust.

Classical musicians’ response to the pandemic has been extraordinary. Against all odds, musicians nationwide have resiliently and generously found ways to keep sharing what they do, turning bedrooms into makeshift studios, taking their instruments out onto the streets, becoming amateur film-makers, putting themselves forward in all sorts of ways they never had before, for the benefit of others. New forms of creativity and connectivity have been forged which, if taken forward, could represent a positive legacy from this difficult year.

Responding to this, with kind support from Harriet’s Trust, we created the RPS Enterprise Fund, offering individual performers and chamber music groups the means to strengthen and transform the extents of their creativity, connectivity, profile and revenue. Applicants were invited to present ideas drawing on their achievements and resolutions made in lockdown.

As its title suggests, the RPS Enterprise Fund has invited musicians to think entrepreneurially, and we – and our panel comprising independent classical musicians and our funders at Harriet’s Trust – were overwhelmed by the imagination and scope of almost 200 applications. While we regret we could not support them all, we are pleased to announce 87 recipients: 80 at the General level receiving grants of up to £2,000 each, and 7 at the higher Trailblazer level, for exceptional candidates who already proved themselves to be remarkably inventive and entrepreneurial in lockdown. Later this year, we will invite the Trailblazers to play an inspirational and advisory role to General grantees, and all 87 recipients will eventually be asked to share publicly what they have been able to achieve with this support, and particularly to share advice and insights that may be helpful and inspiring to other musicians.

‘Between them, the 87 recipients represent the sheer resilience, strength and invention of classical musicians nationally, finding ways forward to uplift and inspire the nation with their creativity,’ says RPS Chief Executive James Murphy. ‘We are immensely grateful to our friends at Harriet’s Trust for having the vision and passion to make this happen. It’s a potent illustration of what an empowered RPS can do, and we dearly welcome others with means to help us generate further opportunities for musicians in need.’

The complete list of recipients at General and Trailblazer level can be found here.

The seven Trailblazers are as follows – click the name of it each for more information, in their own words, about their plans:

  • Andrew Staples, tenor - having furthered his skills as an innovative filmmaker, to acquire vital high-end kit, to present classical music in exciting ways through film and share his approach and expertise with other musicians
  • Elena Urioste and Tom Poster, violin and piano - to further the reach and possibilities of the hugely-popular #UriPosteJukebox, engaging other musicians, and fulfilling their potential as inquisitive, playful and inclusive role models to younger counterparts across the music education ecology
  • The Gesualdo Six - to bring to localities nationally the vocal group’s collaborative ‘London Sound Gallery’ concept created in lockdown, for the group to make music and lasting contacts with local talents and audiences, in live and digital offerings
  • Jessie Grimes, clarinet - to explore and develop the rich possibilities of an inspired array of performances entitled ‘Jessie’s Homemade Garden Jam’ presented with friends in her garden this last year, investing in better kit to film, mobilising the model particularly for the benefit of vulnerable and elderly groups, addressing its distinct appeal to engage those otherwise untouched by conventionally-presented classical music
  • Joby Burgess, percussion - building on the ‘Virtual Marimba Choir’ which uniting percussionists worldwide in lockdown, establishing the ‘Virtual Percussion Orchestra’ that will not only give players more opportunity to play together digitally, but provide a community for percussionists, especially those with limited support, encouragement and resource
  • Olivia Jageurs, harp - to build on the success of innovative digital format ‘Harpy Hour’ whose intimacy and interaction proved popular and lucrative in lockdown; making the model a lasting part of her practice and sharing its blueprint with other instrumentalists
  • Rosie Bergonzi, percussion - to transform the profile, appreciation and take-up of the handpan, an instrument she has presented the rich possibilities of in lockdown, and to fulfil her potential as role-model to other under-presented percussionists

The RPS Enterprise Fund is a one-off opportunity kindly made possible by Harriet’s Trust. Applications are now closed. The original premise and brief for the Fund can be found here.