Young composers join ABRSM mentor scheme to broaden music in education

Harriet Clifford
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The exam board has worked with The Ivors Academy to select composers from a range of backgrounds to inspire the next generation of artists and creators.


UK exam board ABRSM has announced the pilot of its mentor scheme to support young composers from a range of backgrounds and communities to learn how to write music for education. 

It is hoped that the six-month programme will boost the composers’ careers and broaden the variety of music available to everyone, particularly when taking graded exams. 

The programme will be overseen by composer Sarah Watts and teacher, educator and performer Andy Grappy, who will work with the participants to learn more about ABRSM, understand its music education brief, and complete a series of commission tasks. 

Selected with help from The Ivors Academy, the young composers on the pilot scheme include Andrew Chen, Shruthi Rajasekar, Su Ting Han, Kemal Yusuf, Kristina Arakelyan and James B. Wilson. 

Crispin Hunt, chair of The Ivors Academy said: ‘To inspire the next generation of artists and creators, the music they experience through education must be as diverse, varied and thought-provoking as possible.’

Young composer Andrew Chen said: ‘To date, my way into music education has been just as a recipient or facilitator in a very narrow sense. This programme represents something much more wide-ranging and integrated – not just writing pieces but seeing how that links back to the entire industry. It’s really exciting.’

ABRSM chief executive Chris Cobb said: ‘The mentoring scheme is an incredibly exciting element of our work to promote music from a far greater range of communities. All six composers selected with help from our friends at The Ivors Academy for this year’s programme are extremely talented individuals in their own right. 

‘We’re confident that the programme will help them on to the next stages of their careers and, in doing so, inspire an even richer and more exciting variety of music for us all to enjoy in the future.’

Hunt commented: ‘We’re delighted to support this amazing cohort of composers by accelerating their careers in music education and hope to support many more music creators this way in the future.’

ABRSM plans to make the scheme an annual programme, inviting a growing number of composers with different experiences and from a range of backgrounds to take part.