Rhinegold Students from World Heart Beat Academy (left); The site for the new venue

Cameron Bray


World Heart Beat Music Academy finds new home in Vauxhall

11:35, 1st June 2018

Yesterday, the World Heart Beat Music Academy (WHB) announced that it has been chosen from 42 organisations to receive a new creative space at the Embassy Gardens development in Nine Elms. The decision was made by the site’s developer, EcoWorld Ballymore, and Wandsworth Council. The move is a big step-up for WHB, which started out in a derelict building that it agreed to fix up in place of rent for the first year.

The news was first broken during an afternoon performance at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, given by WHB students and mentors. In introducing the proceedings, WHB patron and jazz legend Julian Joseph described WHB as, ‘a civilisation of music’, its students the ‘future brilliant citizens’. The actual announcement was made by WHB founder and artistic director Sahana Gero, who said: ‘Embassy Gardens is going to elevate us to a completely new level. It means that our concept for changing the lives of the next generation of raw talent through music education can become a reality for much greater numbers than we can reach currently.  It will support our ambitions to create more outstanding concerts and innovative programmes and will open up thousands of opportunities for young people who find inspiration and lifelong success through music.’

This new space will consist of a 110-seat auditorium, as well as educational, broadcasting and recording facilities. This, along with the academy’s recent status as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, should see WHB expand the reach of its work, which focuses on exposing young people to music and removing the costs associated with the subject. Speaking in the June issue of Music Teacher, Gero said that, ‘more than 75% [of WHB’s students] come from low-income houses.’

Embassy Gardens is a new development of over 2,000 houses, of which only 15% were earmarked as ‘affordable’ housing in both their 2011 and 2012 planning documents, with the controversial new US embassy at its centre. The venue will open in 2019, with the first performances slated for September. For further information about the project, including updates, visit the website.

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