The Principal’s Fund: Take finances out of the equation

We want every aspiring Academy student to apply with the confidence that they will receive the right support for their talent and circumstances. We provide around £4m in financial awards each year, and our donors give over a quarter of this. However, as fees and living costs rise, we need to do even more. Your support has never been more vital.

See below or click here for more information on the Principal's Fund.

Inspire emerging musicians

At the Academy, we believe that we should seek out exceptional talent and help each student to succeed on their own merits, whatever their background. With your support, we can raise aspirations and ensure that gifted school-age musicians do not miss out on the outstanding musical education they deserve.

Please contact us at for more information.

Shining Light Campaign: Build facilities that sing

Did you know that we have more than 100 teaching, practice, rehearsal and lecture rooms, and 250km of digital infrastructure?

Music is changing, and we need to look to the future. A singer needs the recital hall, a jazz pianist needs the recording studio and a video games composer needs the editing suite. You can help to give all of them the best cutting-edge facilities.

Join the shining light campaign

Prepare students for professional life

The environment for emerging professional musicians has never been more complex, challenging or competitive. To succeed, today’s graduates need to be marketers, small business owners, accountants, teachers, coaches and project managers – which means they need a new set of skills. At the same time, students are under more mental and physical stress, and they look to the Academy for support.

Gifts will help give students the skills and resilience they need to approach the changing demands of the musical profession.

Please contact us at for more information.

Create an exceptional artistic environment

Over the course of a career, a single teacher mentors and inspires hundreds of students. In a formative performance, a student learns to become an artist. With an exceptional artistic environment and top international teachers, we can give every student the best chance of success. In turn, many of our students take first-rate music making into London’s schools and communities. Your support makes the Academy the conservatoire of choice for the most talented.

Please contact us at for more information.

Help us grow and adapt

Gifts to the area of greatest need are among the most valuable we receive. Why? Because they allow us to invest in unexpected opportunities – the chance to host an outstanding visiting professor or send a student to an international competition, for example. They also give us the room to meet unforeseen costs, such as facility repair or an unprecedented number of students needing hardship funding.

In other words, your gift to this fund allows us to be flexible. All gifts to the area of greatest need are allocated at the Principal’s discretion.

Give to the area of greatest need

Thank you very much for considering a gift today. To learn more about how you could change the lives of Academy students, please contact us at for more information.

The idea is simple: offer places to the most talented young musicians, then provide the financial support they need to finish their studies.

If we achieve our aim, the Academy will become the first UK conservatoire to meet every student’s full financial needs. We will change the nature of who makes music. But we can only do this with your help.

Frequently asked questions about the Principal’s Fund

Q: Why is a scheme like this necessary?

Home and EU undergraduate fees: £9,250/year

International student fees: £20,000+/year

Average cost to live in London: £12,000/year (including food, rent, transport, utilities)

Average debt of a UK graduate: £46,000-£51,600 (according to Sutton Trust)

A: Students come to the Academy to receive musical training of the highest quality at a leading conservatoire. But as the cost of living and fees rise, students have no choice but to consider finances when deciding where to study.

Exceptional young musicians should be able to realise their dreams and study at the place of their choice. We believe they should be able to do this without accruing a staggering amount of debt. This is particularly important for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

We are not the only conservatoire in the UK to identify this need, but we will be among the first to address it head on.

Currently we can only provide scholarships and bursaries to some of the gifted musicians who earn a place here. The Principal’s Fund will offer support to every qualified student who needs it.

Q: What kind of financial support will the Fund provide?

A: The Principal’s Fund will award scholarships (based on merit) and bursaries (based on need), up to and including 100% of a student’s fees or living costs. Exceptional students may receive both. In most cases, this support will continue over the duration of study.

Q: Who determines which students receive awards?

A: All students eligible for funding must complete the audition process and earn a place, competing against all other applicants. Once a student has been accepted, the Head of Department will work with the Principal and Senior Management Team to determine whether they qualify for an award. Decisions may be based on skill, experience, discipline, recommendations or financial need.

Q: Will funding only support undergraduates?

A: Both undergraduate and postgraduate students will be eligible to receive Principal’s Fund support.

Q: What obligations does a student have once they receive funding?

A: All Principal’s Fund scholars are required to submit a yearly report on their progress and, in some cases, a letter thanking their donors. We collect and publish a selection of these in our annual Awards Report, which we send to all Principal’s Fund donors.

The following individuals and organisations supported the launch of the Principal’s Fund during the 2018/19 academic year, and are therefore recognised as Founding Members.

Download list of Founding Members

Support the Susie Sainsbury Theatre

The opening of the Susie Sainsbury Theatre and Angela Burgess Recital Hall marked a new era in performance at the Academy, but you can still play a vital part in this project. Your support today will ensure that we can preserve and enjoy this handsome space for years to come. We will recognise your gift in the following ways:

  • With your gift of £50 – name one of the theatre’s hanging crystal lights (your inscription, up to 40 characters, will be recorded in a bound volume exhibited in the foyer)
  • With your gift of £125 – inscribe a name on one of the theatre’s engraved wall plates
  • With your gift of £1,500 or more – sponsor a seat in the stalls or balcony, with your message of recognition or inspiration

Make your gift today

Contact Kurstin Finch Gnehm, Deputy Director of Philanthropy, on 020 7873 7425 or

Sponsor a seat, light or wall plate in their name

For the first time in Academy history, families and friends can honour the extraordinary achievement of a graduating student by dedicating a seat, wall plate or crystal light in their name in the Susie Sainsbury Theatre. With your gift, you ensure that your chosen dedicatee takes their place as a permanent part of Academy history – and that the students that follow in their footsteps can continue learn, grow and perform in this award-winning space.

It only takes a moment to make your gift, and the inscription – the student’s name, department or instrument and graduation year, or a personal message – will last as long as the memories.

  • With your gift of £50 – name one of the theatre’s hanging crystal lights (your inscription, up to 40 characters, will be recorded in a bound volume exhibited in the foyer)
  • With your gift of £125 – inscribe your loved one’s name on one of the theatre’s engraved wall plates (up to 20 characters including spaces)
  • With your gift of £1,500 or more – sponsor a seat in the stalls or balcony, with your message of recognition or inspiration (up to three lines of 26 characters each, including spaces)

Make your gift today

If you have any questions about giving to the Academy, please contact Kurstin Finch Gnehm, Deputy Director of Philanthropy, on 020 7873 7425 or

Thank you!

As a donor to the Academy, you may choose to establish a prize for outstanding student achievement. To create a new prize, we require a commitment of £5,000 per year for at least two years. You will be invited to name the prize and work with the Head of Department to determine the criteria on which the prize will be awarded.

You may also choose to award your prize as part of a competition. The prize will be managed by the Academy’s Concerts and Prizes Team. In addition to the sum awarded, we ask donors to cover any extra costs related to the competition. These may include:

  • adjudicators (please note: donors may not serve as adjudicators)
  • printed materials
  • catering or a reception
  • accompanists

If you would like to establish a prize at the Academy, please contact Kurstin Finch Gnehm, Deputy Director of Philanthropy, on 020 7873 7425 or