My week: Susan Dolton

The director of education at the Musicians Benevolent Fund gets a large donation.

Susan Dolton
Susan Dolton


A whole day of auditions for our annual awards scheme for young violinists. It's always a privilege to hear talented young musicians play, but after six hours of Belgian composer Eugene Ysaye, my ears have had enough. We chat afterwards about banning his work from next year's awards. The panel decides on the two main scholarships and another seven awards.

I'm home a bit earlier than usual and get straight onto my laptop. I hear back from two of the assessors for our Professional Development Awards:they have agreed that a mid-career violinist should get funding to develop her skills in community music-making.


I meet Steve Heap from Folk Arts England, the national development agency for folk music. He's being really helpful about us developing ways to nurture talented young folk musicians.

I spend a nice evening at an event in central London hosted by Live Music Now, which provides musicians to the UK's welfare, education, justice and health sectors. Mezzo-soprano Sally Burgess has been working with singers in a two-day masterclass session, helping them to become better communicators as LMN artists. I squeeze in a bit of networking.


I get an email from a lady who wants to set up a music scholarship in memory of her late husband. It's heartening to do something beneficial to both donor and recipient. I receive news of a large donation from the Promenaders' Musical Charities, the volunteers who take the collections at the end of the BBC Proms concerts. We use this to fund our Young Talent Awards, for children whose parents are struggling to pay for lessons or instruments.


Joan Armatrading has just agreed to chair our Songwriting Awards at the end of this month. We are lucky that so many eminent members of the music business give up their time to help us.


I sit down with the rest of the team to discuss how our online applications system is developing. I get a bit lost here, but try to chip in with the odd useful comment. To finish off the day, I sit down with Katy and Grace, two of my team members, to talk about the project plan for our Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, which happens at the beginning of December.

The Musicians Benevolent Fund provides support to musicians and their dependants.

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