Ellen Wilkinson Appointed as Young Commonwealth Music Ambassador

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Ellen Wilkinson as the new Young Commonwealth Music Ambassador. Ellen, an accomplished oboist, writer, arts producer, and educator, brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic approach to her new role.

Ellen Wilkinson, based in South London, graduated from the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in July 2023 with First Class Honours. She received the prestigious Irene Humber Prize for the highest Woodwind recital mark. Professionally, Ellen has performed with the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Dorset Opera Festival, showcasing her talent in several chamber ensembles.

In her first year at RAM, Ellen founded and edited the conservatoire’s student newspaper, RAMpage News. She continues to make significant contributions to the arts as a writer, currently serving as a theatre and classical music critic for the online review magazine, The Upcoming. Ellen is also developing a blog for the newly formed Odyssey Festival Orchestra, aiming to make orchestral concerts more engaging for younger and broader audiences.

Ellen’s versatility as a creative generalist is evident in her interests in theatre, dance, writing, and music. In January 2024, she completed the Almeida Theatre’s Young Producers Scheme, where she helped produce a free arts festival for under 25s and conducted a workshop on composing for theatre. She further combined theatre and music in a performance at the Marylebone Theatre following a weeklong introduction to the Jacques Le Coq school of training.

Growing up in Brixton, Ellen participated in the Royal Opera House’s Chance to Dance scheme and trained with the Royal Ballet School’s Associate Programme. She has performed on notable stages, including the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells.

Ellen is passionate about education and outreach. As an Open Academy Fellow with RAM, she curates and delivers creative musical workshops in various community settings, including care homes, hospitals, and a pupil referral unit. She has also worked as an oboe tutor for the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra since 2020, and will assist in a composition programme organized by the Commonwealth Resounds Charity in July 2024. Additionally, Ellen teaches flute, oboe, and recorder at Thomson House School and has recently taught dance and drama for Croydon Music and Arts.

Ellen’s Vision and First Engagement
Upon her appointment, Ellen expressed her excitement and a bit of nervousness about making her professional public speaking debut as a Young Commonwealth Music Ambassador at Marlborough House. She participated in a panel discussion celebrating Women in Oceans, Science, Art, Communications, and Government for World Ocean Day. Ellen aimed to convey the transformative power of the arts in engaging people from all backgrounds in broader societal issues, such as ocean sustainability.

Following her first appearance, Ellen shared her inspiring experience on social media:

“In my new role as ‘Young Commonwealth Music Ambassador,’ I had an amazingly inspiring time at Marlborough House last night speaking about how the Arts can help communicate vital scientific messages, such as Ocean Sustainability. Two particular highlights were watching the incredible dancer Fernando Montaño’s rendition of ‘The Swan’ and listening to the incredibly warm and articulate Kelly Forsythe speak on the societal barriers she has had to overcome as a woman of colour in the field of marine biology. Huge thanks and admiration go to my fellow panel members and the event’s organiser, Heidi Prislan. Happy World Ocean Day!”

Looking Ahead
Ellen Wilkinson’s diverse skills and passion for combining art forms to create thought-provoking performances make her an exceptional Young Commonwealth Music Ambassador. She will be returning for a 3rd visit to Antigua and Barbuda this summer with The Commonwealth Resounds to share musical cultures and continue to support the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra. We are excited to see her continue to inspire and engage communities across the Commonwealth, using the arts to address significant global issues. Stay tuned for more updates on Ellen’s activities and initiatives in her new role.