“At nearly 200 years old, it’s the grande dame of British conservatoires, but the Royal Academy of Music is surprisingly forward-thinking”Pianist Magazine
The Royal Academy of Music is honoured to announce the acquisition of Kenny Wheeler’s archive of original music.
Kenny Wheeler is without question one of the most important figures in European jazz history. The Royal Academy of Music and its Jazz Department are extremely proud to receive the extraordinary archive of original work that Kenny Wheeler has accumulated over a lifetime of composing. The archive consists of original copies of handwritten scores and selected mementos from Kenny Wheeler’s career of more than sixty years.
Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Academy, said: ‘This important archive represents a distinguished addition to the Academy’s remarkable collections of performance materials, from the 16th century to the present day. Kenny Wheeler’s achievements will take on new life across the Academy’s broad performance, educational and research environment.’
Head of Jazz at the Academy Nick Smart, himself a close associate of Wheeler and member of the KW big band, said: ‘Kenny’s music and work has informed a vital part of the way that composition, arranging and ensemble skills are taught at the Academy. The faculty has many experts in Kenny’s musical vocabulary, including our head of jazz composition, Pete Churchill, and long time Wheeler band-member Stan Sulzmann, so it is a natural step for the Academy to look after this important and forever-relevant collection.’
Once complete, the archive will be available for study purposes to Wheeler students and devotees all over the world.
Kenny Wheeler, who turned 82 in January 2012 and is still busy writing, recording and performing his own music, said: ‘I am so pleased that my archive will be taken care of by musicians and friends I trust, and who really understand my music. It gives me pleasure to know that it will be there to help future generations of young composers with their own musical journeys.’
More details of the archive and how it can be accessed will be released as the process of cataloguing gets underway.
Photo by Luigi Pretolani.