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Help Musicians appoints new president

British music industry charity Help Musicians has appointed Dame Evelyn Glennie as president.

Only the third person, and first woman, to hold the honorary post, Dame Evelyn succeeds composer and conductor Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who died in 2016. The first president, meanwhile, was legendary composer Sir Edward Elgar, best known for his Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (aka ‘Land of Hope and Glory’).

Glennie (pictured), a double Grammy- winner, is known as the first person to sustain a successful full-time career as a solo percussionist. She played the first percussion concerto in the history of the BBC Proms in 1992, and led 1,000 drummers in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games seen, globally by over 900 million viewers.

Graham Sheffield CBE, chair of the Help Musicians board of trustees, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Dame Evelyn Glennie into the Help Musicians family as our new president. Just like her two predecessors, Elgar and Maxwell Davies, Evelyn is a musical giant of her time. She is a trailblazer, whose energy and musicality reach beyond traditional boundaries to musicians and music lovers of all genres.”

“As we approach our centenary next year, we are honoured that Evelyn has joined us)

“Throughout her career, Evelyn has demonstrated a unique ability as a communicator and inspiration,” he adds. “As we approach our centenary next year, we are honoured that she has joined us to help spread our key messages around the development and welfare of professional musicians, as well as the importance and power of music.”

Formerly known as the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and later Help Musicians UK, Help Musicians helps artists and other music industry professionals in crisis with problems including mental health issues, isolation and financial turmoil.

It provides a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week helpline for people suffering with mental health problems via its Music Minds Matter service, launched in December 2017 in response to the findings of its Can Music Make You Sick? study released the previous year.


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£100k HMUK fund to address mental health “crisis”

Help Musicians UK (HMUK) today announced the launch of Music Minds Matter, a campaign to raise funding for a new 24/7 mental-health service for people working in music.

HMUK has itself already put £100,000 into Music Minds Matter – set up, says the charity, in response to the “mental health crisis” in the music industry – and hopes to double its investment, with £200,000 the minimum needed to make the service viable beyond 2018. The service, which combines a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week helpline with “clinical, medical, therapeutic and welfare support”, is set to launch later this year.

Speaking to IQ on Friday following the suicide of Chester Bennington (pictured), HMUK chief executive Richard Robinson identified the need for a practical medical response to mental illness among musicians and other people working in the industry. “If people can talk to musicians who already have experience of mental-health problems, alcoholism or addiction, that’s a fantastic service – but there has to a clinical response, too,” he said. “That’s what’s missing.”

Calls for action on mental health after Linkin Park death

An HMUK study, Can Music Make You Sick?, released in November found almost three quarters of respondents – all professional musicians – had experienced episodes of anxiety and depression, with more than half saying they felt underserved by the support available currently.

Announcing Music Minds Matter, Help Musicians calls for “arm-in-arm” support from the industry and philanthropists to match its investment pound for pound. The money will be put towards financing the global music mental health platform, in collaboration with partners in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, revealed by Robinson on Friday.

“For generations and generations, the music industry has lost some of its brightest talent and future stars due to the scourge of mental health and related issues,” says Robinson today. “The situation is now urgent and we can no longer allow this to continue. We have decided to make this landmark investment as a precursor to a dedicated service – but we cannot undertake this work in isolation.

“I’m sure that this investment and the Music Minds Matter campaign would have met with Chester’s approval”

“We need the music industry to step up, arm in arm with Help Musicians, and match our support pound for pound […] The forthcoming specialist 24/7 mental health service will be a global first and go hand in hand with Help Musicians’ traditional health and welfare support, which offers advice and often financial support to people in the industry across a wide range of issues.”

Madina Lake bassist Matthew Leone, who toured with Bennington and Linkin Park in 2007, adds: “I spent many hours working alongside Chester and he was an incredibly passionate man. I’m sure that this investment and the Music Minds Matter campaign would have met with his approval. Likewise, having spoken to Linkin Park’s management, I know that they are anxious to follow this campaign through to a successful conclusion.

“This unique service will revolutionise the way musicians and the music industry think about mental health. Its been a long time coming and I strongly urge the music community to support this brand-new fund.”

To donate to the fund, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/MusicMindsMatter.


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