Benslow’s Musical Instrument Lending Program Celebrates New Home | News

The Benslow Musical Instrument Lending Scheme (BMILS) celebrated the opening of the Aston Building over the weekend. Officially opened by Benslow Music Trust President Judith Weir, the new facility offers a supervised and secure environment for the instruments, a test studio, workshop space for on-site luthier Marco Matathia as well as an office and a practice space.

The program is available to UK resident students aged 7 to 25 currently in full-time training and following a music education course. With a collection currently comprising over 1600 musical items, including stringed instruments and bows, it aims to inspire confidence in the next generation of string players by lending high quality instruments to students in need. Previous borrowers include BBC Young Musician of the Year finalists, RPS Awards winners, and many have gone on to international solo and chamber music careers.

Etta Dainty, Head of BMILS, said, “There should be no obstacles preventing young people from pursuing their musical dreams, and at BMILS we strive to make ourselves visible and available to potential borrowers from all walks of life.

“To see a young player’s face light up when they first try an instrument of much better quality than the one they had before is priceless! A whole new world of sound opens up.

The opening ceremony also included performances by two BMILS borrowers, 16-year-old violinist Olivia Trezise and 8-year-old cellist Apollo Premadasa.

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The Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme was founded in 1932 by Editha Knocker and Edith Croll. They wrote a letter to The temperature, calling for ‘Good Violins Lying Idle’ to be repurposed for use by promising students whose artistic development was held back by the prohibitive cost of good quality instruments. Their aims were endorsed by leading figures in the music and cultural establishment of interwar Britain, including the eminent conductor Sir Henry Wood. The program currently supports over 475 current active borrowers.

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