Peter Whittingham Jazz Award

Temi Salau

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award.

An expert in survival medicine, Peter Whittingham was also a pianist who enjoyed the music of Gershwin, Porter, Sondheim, Bernstein, Shearing and Peterson. After his death in 1987 his family set up this award in his memory and their connection with the award continues.

The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award has, for three decades, been providing financial grants to emerging jazz acts in order to support those at a tipping point in their career. In this special anniversary year, and at a time when the genre is so vibrant but the landscape so challenging, Help Musicians has increased its investment to £20,000 so as to support even more jazz artists. Further to more financial grants available, the charity is also providing more support than ever before with business advice sessions and health resources as part of the 2020 Peter Whittingham Award funding package, ensuring jazz musicians are supported across the breadth of their careers.

This year, three awardees will receive: £5,000 to support their creative output, tailored 1:1 business advice sessions with industry experts, and access to health resources through our partner, British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

An additional £5,000 will be available in Help Musicians Development Awards which will be awarded to applicants who demonstrate potential to make an impact in the jazz scene.

Click here for a full list of winners.

Last year the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award went to Sam Healey and his band Skeltr. We were also delighted to award two additional development awards to Emma Johnson and Matt Carmichael.

Apply for the Peter Whittingham Jazz Awards 2020 – Applications open 16 September 2020

Download full application guidelines here

Who can apply?

This Award is open to emerging and early career jazz musicians and groups with the creativity, ambition and commitment to develop a sustainable career in jazz. We are looking for music creators who are at a tipping point in their career and who can demonstrate that their proposed project will help them reach the next stage of their career.

We welcome applicants from all walks of life, particularly those who are currently underrepresented in jazz such as women, people with disabilities, and individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK

Applicants must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be resident in the UK at the time of applying **
  • Be in financial need and without significant backing (by this we mean not receiving significant financial backing from a record label, publisher or private investor and not having over £16,000 in savings)
  • Be able to evidence a track record as a musician and demonstrate that they are approaching a career tipping point

** Help Musicians refers to the UK residency rules noting that applicants are eligible for our support if:

  • They are a UK National living in the UK they automatically qualify in terms of residency
  • They are a non-UK National, they have been living in the UK for at least 183 days and have the legal right to live in the UK
  • They are a UK or non-UK National and have not been living in the UK for at least 183 days, access to grants and funds is discretionary and decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

Applying as a group?

  • All group members must meet the above eligibility criteria
  • The group must have been established and playing together regularly for at least 1 year
  • The group should be made up of no more than 8 members

Previous Peter Whittingham Jazz Award winners are not eligible to apply.

We may request evidence of eligibility at any stage.

Applicants must already have an active career to apply to this fund. We look to support individuals or groups who can clearly demonstrate the following:

  • The difference this grant funding will make to their career development
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and dedication toward their career
  • Regular work (performances, commissions, releases) at a professional level
  • An impressive track record and the potential to achieve a national or international impact
  • Exceptional ability within their discipline
  • High quality musical output

We are looking for the most exciting and innovative jazz musicians who have creativity, ambition and commitment to develop a sustainable career in jazz.

The award can fund the following activities:

  • Recording
  • Filming
  • One-off live performances (providing correct safety measures in place including social distancing.)
  • Online streamed performances (and the costs associated with utilising new technologies to enable these*)
  • Mentoring
  • Collaboration
  • Promotion
  • Costs relating to musical equipment, production and composition software/hardware* (providing they are integral to the creative project proposed)

Applications that incorporate a range of activities (such as recording, filming, streamed or live performances, mentoring, collaboration and promotion) are strongly encouraged. Applicants must detail how their proposed project will be beneficial for their professional development at this point in time, and how they hope to see a positive impact on their career. All activities must be completed by December 2021.

*We request that equipment costs do not make up any more than 50% of a budget and remind applicants that sharing evidence of creative activity with Help Musicians is requested at the end of the funding period.

How to Apply

First, read the application guidelines which set out in detail what we’re looking for. There are two stages to applying for the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award.

Stage One – Written and aural submission

Stage One is by an online application form. We understand applicants will have different preferences in how they communicate their ideas, and therefore, you will have the option of answering some of the key questions either in writing or by video upload.

You will be required to provide two recent and representative recordings of your music. At least one must be an original composition. Please provide web-links (e.g. Soundcloud/Spotify/You Tube). You will have the option to provide additional links to support your application. This can be a link to an EPK or one sheet, links to a press release or links to websites.

You will also need to provide a supporting reference from a recognised figure within the UK jazz scene. This could be an industry representative such as a jazz festival programmer, your college Head of Course, or an established professional musician providing they are not connected with your project. Please ask your referee to complete the separate form.

The deadline for Stage One applications is on Monday 12 October 2020 at 5.00pm. All materials, including your supporting reference, must be received by the application deadline for your application to be considered.

Advice Calls

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about your project before you make your application or you would like to receive general application advice, please sign up for an advice session via this online form. Please only sign up to one session.

Stage Two – Shortlisting and Project Advice Panel

Once the deadline for applications has passed, applicants will be shortlisted for consideration by a panel of industry experts who will inform the final decision based on the strength of your music, project and supporting reference.

Should your application be shortlisted, you will be invited to a remote project advice panel which will be conducted via Microsoft Teams. You will be able to pitch your project idea to our panel and they will ask any questions they may have. The panel will also pull together some advice and guidance that they will share with you to help you frame your project or business plan.
The project advice panel will last for approximately 30 minutes. We hope that this session will be useful in perfecting your project idea and you will walk away from this session having learnt or gained some useful information that you can work into any new project plans or business ideas. The format for this session will be provided to you via email should you be shortlisted

The deadline for applications is on Monday 12 October 2020 at 5.00pm

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