An award-winning jazz musician from Hackney says it is “great to be able to give something back” after signing up as a patron for the charity that helped pay for his piano lessons when he was a teenager.
Deschanel Gordon, 22, was supported by Awards for Young Musicians (AYM) from 2009 to 2013, with the charity’s Furthering Talent scheme providing him with mentoring from a professional musician as well as contributing to his lessons.
After graduating from highly regarded music conservatoire Trinity Laban last year, Gordon was quick to make his mark, winning the prestigious BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 contest in November.
Now he has joined AYM as an alumni patron, which will see him lead master classes for youngsters across the UK and perform on the charity’s behalf.
Gordon said: “AYM’s help with the costs of piano lessons during my teenage years was absolutely crucial to my musical development, as was the amazing mentoring I had too.
“I’ll always remember other musical experiences AYM enabled as well, such as a visit to the Royal Festival Hall with other Furthering Talent students to see pianist Emmanuel Ax perform. It’s great to be able to give something back now as a patron.”
Gordon was a pupil at Mossbourne Academy and also attended youth programmes such as the Hackney Creative Jazz Ensemble and the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy.
Growing up, he was surrounded by a wide range of music from gospel to reggae, but it was a video of virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson that sparked his love for jazz and saw him move away from classical piano.
He has gone on to perform at some of London’s finest jazz venues, including the 606 Club, Ronnie Scott’s, the Jazz Café, the Barbican and Cadogan Hall.
Gordon’s first duty as an AYM patron will be to give an online session in June, during which he will talk to aspiring musicians about his experience of the BBC competition and share his top tips.
The charity’s chief executive Hester Cockcroft said of Gordon’s appointment: “As an alumnus of our groundbreaking Furthering Talent programme, his musical success will be truly inspirational to the hundreds of young people we support across the UK. We can’t wait to get started!”
AYM supports young musicians from low-income families and uses training, advocacy and research to bolster music education.
Its other patrons include conductor Sir Simon Rattle, jazz maestro Shabaka Hutchings and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.
To find out more about the charity’s work, head to a-y-m.org.uk