The Keyboard Charitable Trust’s mission is to help young keyboard players reduce the element of chance in building a professional musical career. The Trust identifies the most talented young performers (aged 18-30) and assists their development by offering them opportunities to perform throughout the world. For the most gifted, this means débuts in London, New York, Mexico, Berlin, Rome and other music capitals.
In collaboration with its partners worldwide, the Keyboard Trust has developed a circuit of some fifty venues in seven principal countries, from the most prestigious concert halls to locations where classical music is rarely heard. In its Annual Report to 31 March 2020 the Trust recorded a total of 217 artists promoted through 875 concert performances worldwide.
With such notable musicians as the late Claudio Abbado and Alfred Brendel among its trustees, this formula has proved its worth: many Trust artists receive an offer of a new engagement, a broadcast, a recording or management. Nearly half of the artists have subsequently made serious professional musical careers.
Recent years have seen a further expansion of the Trust’s work in Germany and Italy as well as in the USA where the distinguished conductor, the late Lorin Maazel, invited the Trust to present its artists at his Festival Theatre in Virginia.
Established in 1991, the Trust received its lifeblood with a benefit concert in the Royal Festival Hall in 1993 given by Claudio Abbado (together with Alfred Brendel the two earliest Trustees) with the then European Community Youth Orchestra and Evgeny Kissin as the soloist. Notable support by Nicola Bulgari and the late Marion Frank has enabled it since then to grow into an effective vehicle for sponsoring some 160 outstanding young talents.
Artistic Direction is now given by Dr Leslie Howard and Dr Elena Vorotko (who specialises in performers on historical instruments) and Christopher Axworthy. The Trust’s regional representation is based on Moritz von Bredow in Germany, Christopher Axworthy, the well-known presenter and broadcaster Valentina Lo Surdo in Italy, and Caroline von Reitzenstein in New York.
Geoffrey Shindler OBE from Manchester succeeded John Leech MBE as Chairman of the Trustees in 2013.
Sarah Biggs became General Manager in 2013 and Richard Thomas was appointed Administrator in 2020.