Historic £6m endows musicals professor

A £6m donation from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation will fund a new professorship for the Royal Academy of Music.

The biggest single gift in the RAM’s 200-year history, it will fund the head of musical theatre, the first fully endowed chair at any UK conservatoire. The first Gatsby Professor will be Daniel Bowling, the academy’s current head of musical theatre (pictured).

It is one of three major gifts, the others being anonymous donations to establish the Myra Hess chair of piano and the William Lawes chair of chamber music, which start a bicentenary campaign for the RAM to raise £60m to invest in state-of-the-art facilities, getting the best the best teachers and collaborators and funding outstanding young musicians.

“Musical excellence has never mattered more” said the RAM’s principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood. “The academy’s bicentenary affords us the opportunity to future-proof the values which have defined our work since 1822 while offering a transformational set of opportunities for talent to thrive, regardless of background. 

“Through the generosity of organisations such as the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, we are able to pursue this universal institutional belief with renewed vigour, and pave the way for successive generations of young musicians to connect, collaborate and create.”

The campaign launch includes the premiere of a new film featuring Academy alumni, teachers, students and friends including Sir Elton John, Imelda Staunton, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jacob Collier, Dame Felicity Lott and Edward Gardner which will be on the academy’s YouTube channel from 2pm on Friday 29th April.

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