Royal Academy Of Music
Elton and Ray Cooper perform a benefit concert at The Royal Albert Hall in aid of The Royal Academy of Music, 2009
Like many of the world’s greatest musicians, Elton John studied at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1958, at the age of 11, young Reginald Dwight was awarded support as a “Junior Exhibitioner,” and he went on to study at the Academy on Saturday mornings for the next four years.
Claiming that, “I have always regarded my training at the Royal Academy of Music as vitally important to the development of my career as a musician,” Elton is now supporting new generations of musical stars through their studies at Britain’s longest-established institution for music education, the Royal Academy of Music.
In 2002 Elton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Royal Academy of Music. Since then he has supported the Academy’s students through the Elton John Scholarship Fund, saying, “I feel compelled to do everything that I can to assist the Academy in nurturing and developing these immensely talented, often impoverished, young people.” Countless young musicians have been able to study at the Academy because of the essential support that they have received from this fund.
One of these Elton John scholars is Luka Sulic, from the 2CELLOS. Elton was so impressed at the unique version of Smooth Criminal that 2CELLOS had posted on YouTube, that he invited Luka and his partner Stjepan Hauser to join him and his band on tour.
In 2009 Elton turned his attention to improving essential facilities at the Academy. Along with his long-term percussionist Ray Cooper, Elton gave a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall, followed by a further concert in 2011 at the Royal Opera House, aiming to purchase and install a brand new organ for the Academy’s main concert hall.
At the time Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, said, “Sir Elton John’s identification with the life and mission of the Royal Academy of Music is an inspiration. It has been nurtured through memorable collaborative concerts, both in the UK and US, leading to his legendary generosity in providing scholarships for our most needy and able students. Now he’s decided to raise money for a fantastic new organ which will transform our wonderful, elegant Duke’s Hall. Above all, Elton is a supreme advocate for what the Academy represents in British cultural life, in the broadest sense.”
In the summer of 2011, the current organ was removed to pave the way for the new instrument. More recently, the Academy has announced that following the two concerts that Elton performed, they have raised the necessary funds and that work will begin work on the installation of their new Kuhn organ by 2013.top