After the tragic early death of the great trumpet virtuoso James Watson two years ago, a special fund has been established to honour his memory and administered by the Royal Academy of Music. Here is the James Watson Fund news and a link to the website…
In February 2011 one of the giants of the brass world passed away suddenly. James Watson was a trumpeter, conductor and teacher and internationally respected as a talented, committed and world-class musician of the highest order. In his memory, the James Watson Fund exists to help young brass players in times of hardship. The needs of these young players may be varied from lessons required, help with fees and living expenses or even the purchase of a musical instrument. The fund exists to ensure financial barriers do not get in the way of a young player’s talent.
James Watson was, above all things, committed to the education and development of future great British brass players. In his role as Head of Brass and Professor of trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music he taught some of today’s best professional players. He ensured that none of his students found financial issues overwhelmed their ability to study and believed talent should always be allowed to flourish. The James Watson Fund, available to brass players under the age of 25, will make awards upon receipt of applications from young brass players in need of financial assistance. This website is the main vehicle through which applications should be made. In order that the fund can endure for many years to come, fundraising activity must continue. Yearly targets are set for fundraising in the hope that the levels of support awarded can be matched by fund raising activity. Please contact us for more details on how you can help the fund endure for many years.
Professor James Watson was one of Britain’s most versatile musicians, dividing his time between trumpet playing, teaching and conducting. James was a student of trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music. After completing his studies, he was quickly invited to return to the Academy as trumpet teacher and later accepted the position of Artistic Director and Head of Brass.
His orchestral work included principal trumpet posts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, London Sinfonietta and the Nash Ensemble. James was lead trumpet of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble from 1974–82.
Film, television and pop session-work credits include the Star Wars Trilogy, Superman, Indiana Jones, Gladiator, and Harry Potter II to name but a few. He recorded with pop legends Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel. Prestigious awards included a Grammy for his direction of the CD Reflections in Brass with Evelyn Glennie, and an Oscar nomination for his trumpet solo with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack for Babe 2.
Conducting positions included Artistic Director of the renowned Black Dyke Mills Band, whom he steered to new artistic heights between 1992 and 2000. James was particularly committed to working with young musicians and was Artistic Director of the National Youth Brass Band of Wales for six years and Vice President of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. The Royal Academy of Music honoured him with a fellowship in 1989 and he was awarded an honorary fellowship from the London College of Music in 1997. In 2006, James was awarded the Iles Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians for his services to brass bands and was appointed Professor of Music by the University of London in recognition of his outstanding contribution both to the Academy and to international musical life.
James was Artistic Director and Head of Brass at the Royal Academy of Music. A position of which he was immensely proud and took with great responsibility. The Royal Academy of Music flourishes today under the stewardship of James’ successor Mark David. Mark continues to drive the brass department of the Royal Academy of Music forward and ever upwards. Whilst not exclusively for Royal Academy of Music students, the fund is linked to the Academy. All monies are held within the Academy. Currently the awards panel consists of three appointed members: Mark David – Head of Brass at the Royal Academy of Music, Nicola Mutton – Director of Artistic Planning at the RAM and Julia Watson, the widow of James. Awards will be made after consideration and unanimous agreement by this panel.