Time flies! What we’ve been up to these past four years….

This time last week we spent a wonderful evening celebrating Abram Wilson’s life and four years of the Abram Wilson Foundation. In a LondonJazz review of the concert (which you can find in full HERE), Naoise Murphy wrote “the young musicians on stage have benefited enormously from their association with the Foundation, and with Abram. All are clearly looking to the future, even while remembering and honouring the much-missed musician who inspires their work.

We were incredibly touched by these comments, and inspired to share in more detail about what has been achieved in Abram’s memory over these past four years, and what your generous donations to the Foundation help support.

We have three programme streams that all support and feed into each other, and ensure that we are reaching a wide audience of beneficiaries, from disadvantaged young people, to emerging musicians, to mid-career artists. Our programmes empower each and every participant to build their existing skills and develop new ones to ensure that they are able to discover, express and live out their greatness.

Achieve Your Greatness (artist education) 

‘Achieve Your Greatness’ is our multi-arts education programme for 11-16 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds involving music, theatre, dance and spoken word. Programme participants access high quality professional artists, are exposed to a range of different artforms, and develop skills such as collaboration, confidence and communication.

So far we have completed successful pilots in 2 Greenwich secondary schools, both of which involved an interactive installation accessing over 2,000 students followed by 42 hours of workshops, benefitting 42 disadvantaged young people between 11-14 years. The workshops involved 6 professional artists, specializing in a wide range of different artforms including jazz, theatre, dance and spoken word.

Speaking on ‘Achieve Your Greatness’, one teacher said: “I loved the complex stimulus of the project, which pushed the teachers and students beyond their normal expectations.”

Watch highlights from our pilot projects HERE.

We will be announcing exciting news about our next round of ‘Achieve Your Greatness’ school programmes soon, so watch this space!

Know Your Greatness (artist incubation) 

‘Know Your Greatness’ is our ongoing career development programme consisting of performances, masterclasses and one-to-one mentoring for artists transitioning to the next stage of their careers.

So far we’ve completed an 11 date sell out UK jazz tour in 2013 that reached over 2,500 live audience members and over 1 million via press and radio, delivered another 21 gigs reaching an additional 2,900 live audience members, provided 56 hours of one-to-one mentoring hours, and benefitted 22 individual emerging jazz musicians, supporting them to achieve their goals including a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch a debut EP, funding from City Music Foundation and Help Musicians, and a premiere performance at the EFG London Jazz Festival. Phew!

Giacomo Smith, a jazz musician and one of the founding members of the critically acclaimed Kansas Smitty’s, explains why ‘Know Your Greatness’ is so important for emerging musicians: “You might never be the best, but you can be great. You shouldn’t try to compete with your peers but collaborate with them and create something beautiful – that’s what the Abram Wilson Foundation helped me do.”

Live Your Greatness (artist acceleration) 

‘Live Your Greatness’ is our artist realization programme, where we collaborate with highly talented and reputable artists to develop new work. This new work then feeds back into our projects with younger beneficiary groups, through education, employment and mentoring opportunities.

Since 2014 we have completed 26 days of research and development workshops for our flagship jazz-theatre production, a piece of new writing by Pia Furtado combined with new music by Abram Wilson called The Philippa Project. In total we have benefitted 13 artists, including 5 emerging jazz musicians, who have learned new skills in working across a range of disciplines including theatre and dance.

We will be updating you on the progress of The Philippa Project in the near future, but for now you can watch highlights of the development workshops HERE.

Here’s what one of our Philippa Project performers had to say about it: “I was very excited to be involved in the musicianship of the score and songs and the discipline of creating theatre. Both of which I had immersed myself in separately, but never together. It was utterly what I wanted to experience as a performer. I am now working on a project connected to my own music with a huge confidence about the cross discipline possibilities, utterly thanks to being involved in The Phillipa Project.” – Sukie Smith, actress and bandleader of Madam.

We would not have been able to achieve all this incredible greatness without your help, and we are extremely grateful to all our supporters. Thank you a bazillion for being part of our journey.

If you’re interested in getting involved and helping with the growth and the development of the Foundation, then please consider becoming an Abram Wilson Foundation Trailblazer. Click HERE for more details.

Till soon!


Jennie x