Ivors Academy board member Anna Phoebe on the Young Voices Foundation and future talent pipeline

Ivors Academy board member Anna Phoebe on the Young Voices Foundation and future talent pipeline

Anna Phoebe is a violinist, composer and board director at The Ivors Academy and, last month, she was appointed one of the first ever ambassadors of the Young Voices Foundation. 

Here, she tells Music Week about the Ivors’ new partnership with the largest children’s choir in the world and why it’s vital for the industry to come together to protect and power up the UK’s future talent pipeline

My first experience of Young Voices was watching my daughter sing and dance her heart out alongside 9,000 other children in one of the organisation’s unforgettable concerts in 2022. It was an incredibly moving experience, the importance of shared live experiences heightened by the two years of pandemic and isolation. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

Two years on, I’m thrilled that the critical work undertaken by Young Voices over the last 28 years is starting to be recognised by the music industry. As a musician, composer and parent, I can see the overwhelming value that music brings to young people; but as a Young Voices Foundation ambassador and board director of The Ivors Academy, I can’t articulate enough how vital it is that we work together as an industry to support their work. 

The newly announced partnership between Young Voices and The Ivors Academy is another important step we are taking as an organisation to inspire, educate and ignite a passion for music in thousands of children and young people.  

The Ivors Academy represents the creative source of the music industry; the songwriters and composers who give voice to our emotions and shape our cultural landscape. Through the Ivor Novello Awards and tireless advocacy, The Ivors Academy champions music creators' rights and fights for sustainable careers in music. 

This partnership brings together Young Voices' unparalleled reach and The Ivors Academy's expertise and dedication to creators. Together, we will create educational materials for schools to instil in children an appreciation for the work that goes into every song they sing. They'll learn about the songwriters, composers, musicians, producers, and countless others who collaborate to bring the music they learn and perform to life. 

This isn't about educating children alone, it's about nurturing the future of the music industry. By fostering a generation that understands and values the creative process, we will inspire the future of our creative industries and cultivate a more supportive ecosystem for music creators to thrive. They are our audiences and fans, and the more they see and experience what goes into creating music, the greater the value they will place on it.

Young Voices is a lifeline for music education in an era of crippling cuts

Anna Phoebe

Young Voices is a lifeline for music education in an era of crippling cuts, providing resources for teachers and opportunities for children who might never otherwise have the chance to sing, play an instrument, or experience the joy of creating music. And the organisation provides a platform for inclusivity and unlocks potential like no other. It gives every child, regardless of background or ability, the chance to shine. This kind of high-level inclusivity is crucial for fostering a future music industry that is more diverse and vibrant than ever. 

Last year, I witnessed the impact firsthand when I had the privilege of touring with Young Voices as a guest violinist. City after city, children from all walks of life came together, united by music – it was humbling and truly awe-inspiring. No matter their individual circumstances at home or school, I watched 27 arenas full of children find joy and power in the collective experience. 

Recently, I've been back in the audience, watching my younger daughter take the stage with her classmates. The anticipation has been building for months, and the concert was an unforgettable experience. But the impact will extend far beyond that hour and a half. The memories, the confidence gained, the love for music - these will last a lifetime. 

Young Voices don’t just organise the largest children’s choir concerts in the world. They create experiences for children that stay with them for life.  It truly is a testament to the power of music to bring people together, create unique shared experiences, bring joy and help us heal.  

The impact and reach of Young Voices up and down the country is huge. Last year it organised 27 UK arena shows and this year there will be 30. In 2024 alone, over 200,000 children will take part in 4,500 schools, and over 230,000 tickets will be sold. That’s more tickets than Glastonbury and, over the last 28 years, 2.5 million children have taken part worldwide. 

The return on investment is astonishing. Last year, the arena tour generated £10 million in economic impact across four cities: Birmingham, London, Manchester and Sheffield. The programme delivered £56.5 million in social value through schools and education. To put that in context, it’s the equivalent of 19,000 people achieving five good GCSE results or 81,000 people going from physically inactive to active.

I'm deeply grateful for what Young Voices does. I'm proud to be an ambassador and thrilled to see The Ivors Academy join forces with this remarkable organisation. Together, they have the power to influence the future of music, one child, one song, one magical performance at a time. 


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