A new fund supporting young musicians and those interested in entering the music industry has been set up in memory of pioneering music executive and former BMG and BPI chairman John Preston.
The John Preston Memorial Fund will support a five-year programme managed by Highlands-based charity The Liam Colgan Music Fund on behalf of John’s widow Roz Preston, in association with the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Two annual open awards have been launched for young musicians in the Highlands and Islands aged between 16 and 30, including senior school pupils and students in further or higher education.
In addition, two more awards will be presented to graduates from The University of the Highlands and Islands.
John Preston dedicated his career to discovering young talent
Roz Preston said: “As one of the top executives in the UK music industry, John’s career was dedicated to discovering and supporting young musical talent.
“He took particular pleasure in seeing young talent thrive and achieve success. Simon Cowell was among the many executives given early career opportunities by John.
“I’m really grateful to the Liam Colgan Music Fund for helping me establish a programme of awards in his name.
“To acknowledge outstanding talent and achievement was something important to him and he would be delighted to be supporting the University of the Highlands and Islands students too. “
Alison Wilson, head of development at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “We feel privileged to be receiving this help through our friends at the Liam Colgan Music Fund, allowing us to establish two awards that will recognise the enormous affection and regard in which John Preston was held and also develop the talents of our students.”
Supporting University of the Highlands and Islands students
Iain Clark, former drummer with Uriah Heep and chairman of the Liam Colgan Music Fund, said they were honoured to help set up this memorial fund in Mr Preston’s name.
He stated: “I worked with John some years ago when he was chairman of one of the European pioneers in digital music distribution companies.
“He was one of the most kind, decent and honourable people I’ve ever met, and we went on to become good friends.
“I am certain he would be excited to see us helping young musicians and others with ambitions to get into the music industry, particularly those who live in the more remote areas.”
Over Mr Preston’s 25-year career, he worked with many well-known artists, including Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, David Bowie, Take That, Whitney Houston and more.
In 1984 he was appointed managing director of Polydor Records UK, before moving on to become managing director at RCA Records UK.
He later went on to become chairman of BMG Entertainment and the BPI, the industry body for the UK music industry.
Following a short illness, Mr Preston died suddenly in 2017.
Click here to find out more about The John Preston Memorial Fund. Applications are now open.