Despite the increasing UK demand for classical music, there is little support for its future. JAM gives an opportunity for new composers and compositions to be heard and recognised.
Anyone of any age or stage may submit music to the project.
Composers, whether students or not, from across the UK, are invited to submit new music, written for choir, brass or organ, or any combination of the three. This adds a great educational discipline; that of having to write for a specific musical force. Whilst these are not common forces, when handled well they are very effective. The project’s panel looks at every piece submitted before deciding on the project’s annual programme. This is then performed at various locations around the UK.
Whilst students are particularly targeted, the ages of composers submitting music to the project has varied from early twenties to late sixties.
In addition, each year the programme is ‘headlined’ by a world premiere performance of a new work, commissioned by JAM, from one of the UK’s leading composers, such as Jonathan Dove, John McCabe, Timothy Jackson etc.
JAM concerts are attended by musicians, music critics, journalists and the public, i.e. a forum for the unknowns to become known.
This is a ground-breaking, vital and unique opportunity for the future of composition in the UK.
Since its inception, JAM has performed to nearly a thousand people.
Over the first three years of the project’s life, audience numbers have grown year on year; the last two concerts that we have given in London have been close to sold out. This would suggest that there is a keen appetite for new music not only from the composers, but also from the audiences that attend the concerts.
From audience research conducted at our 2003 London concert:
89% of people who responded said that they enjoyed the music
83% said that they would come to another concert given by JAM
72% commented that the concert exceeded their expectation
76% found that the content of the programme notes was useful and helped them to understand the music.
‘The element which is so remarkable about JAM is that every incarnation of it is fresh, energized and surprising. The combination of amazing performance spaces, awe-inspiring musical talent and head-turning new composition is very potent. I suppose that ultimately for me, it means that a JAM experience is unrelentingly exciting and always enjoyable.’
Audience member 2001, 2002 & 2003
JAM benefits composers by challenging and motivating their ability as well as giving them a platform to show off their work. JAM gives the general public, the opportunity to increase its musical repertoire, as well as supporting the future of music composition in the UK.
‘I think the JAM project is a fantastic venture, and its commitment to quality performances of new works is unrivalled!’
Richard Peat – composer who had music chosen for the 2002 programme.
‘I am writing to thank you for the opportunity to get one of my pieces performed not only at St Bride’s (Fleet Street) but also at St John’s (Cambridge). I’m sure that, having had an amateur composer as a father, you understand what hearing professional standard performances – just occasionally – actually means. I do hope it proves possible to carry on with the John Armitage Memorial – keep up the good work!’
Ivan Moseley – composer who had music chosen & performed in the 2002 & 2003 programme.
Financing the future of JAM
To enable its long-term goal of six concerts per year plus the annual commission, the JAM needs to raise £25,000 per year. This would also cover some concert advertising and the day-to-day running of the project by volunteers.
JAM will be seeking funding from corporate, regional government, lottery and private sources. It has a small, but enthusiastic ‘Friends’ section, members of which pay either £25 or £75 per year, some of whom also make larger donations.
For the secure future of JAM we hope to achieve long term funding commitments.
‘…This looks like a very interesting project and I will do all I can to encourage our students to show interest’
George Caird – principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire
Who’s who in JAM
JAM’s day-to-day running is undertaken by the Chairman and Trustees.
Edward Armitage, chairman, recording engineer / producer
Charles Cochrane, solicitor
Timothy Jackson, composer and French horn player
Martin Young, vice chairman of Heritable Bank
The Trustees roles include the commissioning of music, the advertising and publicity, the accounts, the Charity Commission requirements and the schedule and performers of the concerts.
The construction of concert programmes from music submitted and commissioned is the responsibility of the JAM panel.
The JAM panel:
Nicholas Cleobury, conductor
Eric Crees, principal Trombone – Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Jonathan Dove, composer
Timothy Jackson, French horn – Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Robert Jones, Director of Music – St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street
Sarah MacDonald, Director of Music in Chapel – Selwyn College, Cambridge.
Timothy Jackson is both a trustee and a panel member. Part of his role is liaising between the trustees and the panel.
‘It is exciting to think of the new repertoire that is being created for this wonderful combination of musical forces. It is the sort of sound-world that I hope will prove a mouth-watering alternative to the kinds of ensembles that are most often available to young composers.’
Jonathan Dove – composer