The Henry McKenzie Johnston Awards

In 2016, AYM Guardian Angels Stephanie and Marek Kulesza created the The Henry McKenzie Johnston Award to support young musicians in Scotland . Here’s what Stephanie says about why they chose to celebrate her father by establishing the Award:

“My father, Henry McKenzie Johnston was born and grew up in Edinburgh – he even fought with a famous Scottish regiment, The Black Watch, during WW2. He and his sister were both musical and often played chamber music together with friends and cousins. My father played the flute as well as the piano. My mother’s family is also from Edinburgh and the Black Isle and they met in Edinburgh as children.

“My father instilled a love of music in me all my life – the first piece I really remember hearing was Peter and the Wolf (on a 78 shellac record) when I was five years old, and he took me to my first ballet, Giselle, at about the same age. He was a diplomat and we lived all over the world and he took us to amazing concerts – I remember him playing Chopin on the piano in the evenings while he waited for my mother to get ready for yet another Diplomatic reception. Music has been a big part of my life ever since and I also played the flute and ended up studying singing at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

“Having become involved with AYM some 11 years ago my father and I went to almost all the AYM events together and he always loved meeting the young musicians. My husband and I decided a few years ago to set up the Henry McKenzie Johnston Award to celebrate my father’s love for his birthplace and his love of music and young people. We decided to start it when he was still alive so that he could get pleasure from knowing the young people we had helped – and he met many of them.

“My father died in 2020 and the last time I saw him, only about a week before he died, I played him the video I had taken of a Henry Mckenzie Johnston Award winner, Kyle, playing his pipes on the beach at Rosemarkie which is only 20 minutes from my mother’s family home in Cromarty. It gave him so much pleasure and I felt it completed the circle of his life – Scotland, my mother and music.

“It has been a real privilege to support AYM for all these years. If you have a loved one you would like to honour – what better way than to Dedicate a Named Award in their memory – or even while they are still with you!”

When you attach your name to an Award, the name of a loved one or the name of your company to an AYM Award, you’re associated with giving wonderful music to the world.

If you would like to set up an annual Award to support a genre, instrument, region, organisation or in honour of an individual, we can help you find the way that works best for you.

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