press release
Published: 04 March 2021

Globally renowned recording studio AIR to fund a new diversity scholarship to one of the most prestigious degree courses in sound recording at the University of Surrey

AIR, the recording studios founded by Sir George Martin, has announced it is to fund an annual scholarship to the University of Surrey’s prestigious Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) course.

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The successful applicants, who will need to be bright and promising students across the joint A Level disciplines of maths, physics and music or music technology, will get the education and training that will enable them to pursue top-level careers in music and recorded sound.  

The UK’s audio industry currently lacks diversity compared to the UK population. This scholarship was born out of a future vision of the sound and recording world shared by the University and AIR, in recognition of the importance of providing opportunities within the industry for underrepresented ethnic groups.  It builds on the existing partnership between AIR and the University of Surrey’s Department of Music and Media, which regularly sees students undertaking professional placement years and graduates taking up employment at the company.

Kamila Serkebaeva, Director at AIR, comments: “The excellence of knowledge and technical understanding that the Tonmeister degree provides is unrivalled in the music recording industry. We have nurtured bright new generations of University of Surrey graduates for decades and have come to understand the deep value of participation in higher education. For this reason and following on our recent commitment to a stronger and more inclusive music recording ecosystem, we set up the AIR Diversity Scholarship for the Tonmeister course. We hope that this will be the beginning of a wider reform to increase representation in the music industry and that we’ll soon see diverse values, goals, and concerns brought into the dialogue and the quality of our collective work.”

Launched in 1970 and now in its’ 50th academic year, the Tonmeister course at Surrey is both prestigious and unique in the UK, blending rigorous musical study, advanced investigation of audio engineering and mastery of sound-recording operation and practice. The course boasts an impressive number of Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Mercury Music award winners amongst its alumni,

Professor Tony Myatt, Head of the Department of Music and Media at the University of Surrey, comments: “We are absolutely committed to address some of the systemic imbalances which exist in higher education communities and some areas of the UK music industry.  We want to support and provide the very best educational opportunities to the next generation of recording engineers and music producers, regardless of their backgrounds or financial position, and with a diversity that fully reflects our society.  We’re delighted to partner with AIR on this UK-first initiative and are excited at the prospect of working with them to support the best young musical and recording talent of the future.”

The AIR Diversity Scholarship for Tonmeisters Scholarship applications are open now for an October 2021 start.

All enquiries should be directed to the Scholarships office: bursariesandscholarships@surrey.ac.uk.

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