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The Royal Academy of Music and Edition Records announce vibraphonist and composer Jonny Mansfield as the 2018 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize winner

The Royal Academy of Music and Edition Records today announce vibraphonist and composer Jonny Mansfield as the recipient of the 2018 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize.

The annual prize, now in its eighth year, is awarded to a graduating jazz musician at the Royal Academy of Music who demonstrates excellence in both performance and composition. Mansfield wins an exclusive recording session of a proposed album on the Edition Records label which will be released in 2019.

Mansfield follows in the footsteps of the highly-acclaimed previous winners; saxophonist Josh Arcoleo (2011), trumpeter Reuben Fowler (2012), vocalist Lauren Kinsella (2013), bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado (2014), vibraphonist Ralph Wyld (2015), guitarist Rob Luft (2016), and saxophonist Tom Barford (2017) whose album is released on 31 August 2018.

The judging panel – Dave Stapleton: Edition Records Founder and Producer, Nick Smart: the Academy’s Head of Jazz and Evan Parker: saxophonist and lifelong collaborator of the late Wheeler – met in June to decide the winner.

Evan Parker said: ‘This prize honours the life and work of a musician who was distinguished not simply as a magnificently gifted improvising instrumentalist, but also as a composer and arranger. In awarding the prize to Jonny Mansfield this year we have chosen a young musician who has already shown himself to be remarkably talented in all three disciplines, and seems to have a musical vision beyond his years.’

Edition Records boss Dave Stapleton commented: ‘As the music industry continues to evolve and change at an unprecedented rate, it’s hugely rewarding for us to have an opportunity to help develop and guide these young, talented and vital artists of the future. Jonny Mansfield is a musician of real depth and maturity, both as an instrumentalist and composer. Jonny also has the ability to recognise the wider challenges facing him and approach them with drive and determination to pursue a career in this music. To succeed in the 21st Century music industry requires all-round skill and talent, which Jonny has in abundance.’

Kenny’s son, Mark Wheeler, said: ‘I have enjoyed hearing Jonny a few times at Academy events and also online, and I know my Dad would have loved his playing and his wonderful writing. It’s exciting to see how these young musicians flourish and it remains a source of joy for all the family that Dad’s name and legacy lives on through this fantastic prize.’


Jonny Mansfield

Jonny Mansfield is a 22-year-old vibraphonist, drummer and composer based in London. He began studying at the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 after being awarded the Colin Murray Scholarship. He is taught by Jim Hart, Pete Churchill and Gareth Lockrane.

Since being based in London, he has been leading his own ensembles, composing and performing, predominantly his band ‘Elftet’ and collaborative trio ‘Crescent’, as well as performing as a sideman in other bands such as Alberto Palau Quintet, Tom Smith’s Geko, Oliver Mason Quintet, Jam Experiment, Treeclimbers, Rory Ingham’s Quartet and Dom Ingham’s Sextet. Jonny also regularly performs with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, who recently toured Germany and are playing at the BBC Proms this summer.

Recently, Jonny performed in a quintet led by Gareth Lockrane at the 606 club playing the music from the film The Small World of Sammy Lee and toured the north of England with Chris Potter as part of a Band on the Wall project. In autumn 2018, Jonny will be undertaking a 15 date tour with Elftet around the UK.


Edition Records       

For more information visit editionrecords.com      

Royal Academy of Music

The Royal Academy of Music has been training musicians to the highest professional standards since its foundation in 1822. Its impact on musical life, both in the UK and abroad, is inestimable. The music profession is permeated at all levels with Academy alumni, including classical giants Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Harrison Birtwistle and pop stars Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox.

Every year some of the most talented young musicians from over 50 countries come to study here, attracted by renowned teachers and a rich culture that broadens musical horizons, develops professional creativity and fosters entrepreneurial spirit. Students benefit from an unrivalled calendar of concerts, operas, musical theatre shows and other events, in the run-up to which they work regularly with leading practitioners.

As the Academy approaches its bicentenary it goes from strength to strength, regularly topping nationwide league tables. For 2018 it has been rated as the top conservatoire by the Times University Guide and the best conservatoire for research by the Times Higher Education.


Royal Academy of Music Jazz Department

For more information visit ram.ac.uk/jazz