Will Michael Awards Presentation and Performance

Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra

At last night’s Will Michael Awards ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Music, Diplomas for outstanding achievements in jazz education in 2011/12 were awarded to:

East Renfrewshire

One Education Music (Manchester)

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SoundStorm (Bournemouth and Poole)


A Diploma of Special Merit was given to Devon together with a special trophy donated by Yamaha Music Europe – UK, in recognition of the fact that Devon have now won six Diplomas on the trot, four of them of Special Merit.

The Will Michael Awards are part of the National Music Council Local Authority Music Education Awards Scheme, and are supported by Yamaha Music Europe. More background to the awards is HERE

The awards were presented by:

Prof Jonathan Freeman-Attwood – Principal of the Royal Academy of Music
Juliette Kelly – Trustee of Jazz Services
Mike Ketley – Yamaha.


The Awards Presentation was followed by a performance; Frank Griffith Writes:
I attended a concert last night at the Royal Academy of Music in London presenting a programme entitled The Lost Kenny Wheeler Scores, performed by The Academy Big Band conducted by Nick Smart;The soloist playing the role of Kenny was the eminent British trumpeter and flugelhornist, Henry Lowther. The concert included several pieces from the 1960s and early 1970s, lesser known big band works by Kenny Wheeler from the Academy’s newly acquired archive. The titles will be familiar to Kenny Wheeler fans although more as small group pieces. They included:

Introduction to no particular song
Foxy Trot
Who Are You (lyrics by Norma Winstone)

The band performed these works brilliantly in both their ensemble playing as well as solo forays. Fourth year vocalist, Emma Smith, acquitted herself admirably on Norma Winstone’s Who Are You.

As is often the case with great and important writers their signature sound and strengths are often established early, as was also the case with Gil Evans’s scores for Claude Thornhill in the 1940s. His orchestrations (use of horns, tuba, flutes, clarinets) and counterlines were being put to use well before his epical scores for Miles on Columbia in the late 1950s. Similarly, Kenny’s rich harmonies and rhapsodic melodies borne out with open brass and saxes were fully evident in these relatively early works of his.

Just to give one an idea of the significance of the occasion, many key figures from British jazz were in the audience including Stan Sulzmann, Pete Hurt, Dave Green, Juliet Lewis, Phil Robson and Mark Armstrong.

A beautiful hour of music indeed.

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