Endangered Instruments Awards

The oboe, double bass, bassoon, viola, French horn and others are at risk of disappearing forever. They are endangered. There are vanishingly few places to learn them, or even find instruments to play.

Large ensembles cannot fill the parts, and the few endangered instrumentalists are in constant demand – from joining pit bands for musical theatre shows to concerts of the major symphonic works. How do you have a jazz quartet without a double bass, or a string quartet without viola? How do you play a symphony without a full brass section?

Woodwind musicians play as part of an orchestra.

When music education itself is facing an existential threat, there doesn’t seem to be the capacity to prioritise the less popular instruments. It’s hard even to get these instruments into the hands of children. But the right instrument ecology is absolutely integral to our students’ education.

The RNCM provides support for specific minority instruments, all the way from young musicians starting lessons to those on the cusp of entering the profession, through:

  • Spotlighting endangered instruments at our Young Explorers Family Concert Series, inviting children and young people to have a go and consider tuition.
  • Non-auditioned workshops with expert RNCM tutors for instruments including the bassoon, French horn, tuba and viola, for school age players at any level
  • Scholarships for minority instrumentalists at JRNCM, our weekly music school for gifted young musicians aged 8 to 18

You can help by funding Undergraduate and Postgraduate Awards for aspiring professional musicians who play endangered instruments, so they can realise their potential, forge a successful career and inspire the next generation of endangered instrumentalists.

Donate here to protect endangered instruments from critical risk.

 ‘My main goal is to bring the solo double bass to as many audiences as possible, encourage more venues to consider the bass as a viable solo instrument, and expose the instrument to more potential young players. You’ll always run into people telling you that is not possible. We need as many aspiring young bassists to achieve as much as they can, to help bring the bass out of the shadows and into the spotlight.’

Toby Hughes, renowned double bassist, trained at RNCM