How Monica and Quintin Des Clayes passed on something wonderful


Have you ever thought about passing on something wonderful: the gift of a musical life?

In 2020 we launched the Monica and Quintin Des Clayes Awards, thanks to a generous legacy gift from the Des Clayes family. Each year, 25 young musicians from low income families will receive financial help for their music making and individual support for their musical progression, as part of our Awards programme.


“2020 has been traumatic for my family. Having my AYM Award is such a blessing in a time of uncertainty. Playing cello helps me deal with the ups and downs of life. My dream is to study at the Royal Academy of Music and I’m working hard to achieve this.” A Monica and Quinitin Des Clayes Award winner. Cellist (15), from Northern Ireland. 


Quintin (1926-2018) was a Royal Naval instructor officer specialising in mathematics. However, as a very keen flautist, much of his time was spent making music – chamber music, orchestral music, singing in choirs and conducting. After leaving the Navy as a Commander with an OBE in his 50s, he devoted as much time as possible to teaching music and organising concerts for his students, continuing until he was in his 90s. He loved this work, charging minimal fees, believing passionately that music should be available to all, regardless of wealth.


“I’m so grateful to be one of the young musicians to receive an Award supported by the Des Clayes family. I read about Monica and Quintin. It was really heart-warming the way they were passionate about music and teaching it to others, regardless of wealth”. A Monica and Quinitin Des Clayes Award winner. Bassoonist (12), from London. 


Monica (1927-2016) supported Quintin and his musical activities throughout their 65 years of married life together, and home-tutored young people ‘challenged by school life.’

“They’d be delighted to know that many students will benefit from this legacy”. Quentin and Monica’s son. 


“My Award will allow me to learn more, play in amazing venues, and build connections with people who could be a help in my future musical career”. A Monica and Quinitin Des Clayes Award winner. Trumpeter (17), from Devon.


If you’d like to find out more about passing on the gift of a musical life by remembering AYM in your Will, please click here.

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