Thursday, 28 February 2019

A scholarship in honour of legendary session pianist Nicky Hopkins has been set up at the Royal Academy of Music

Dr Matthew Ross, John Wood, Deborah Grabien (Photo: Christopher Gatelock)

London - Sunday 24 Feb 2019 - Around 20 fans, friends and family of probably the world's greatest session pianist and organist, Nicky Hopkins (1944-94), marked what would have been his 75th birthday at the Royal Academy of Music, where Nicky himself studied on a scholarship in the 1950s, by celebrating the formation of The Nicky Hopkins Award. The Award was created with a donation of £10,000.

Guests included Moira Hopkins, Nicky's widow; Graham Parker, former lead singer of Graham Parker & the Rumour; and Gray Levett, Nicky's former personal manager.

Graham Parker, Gray Levett and Moira Hopkins (Photo: Christopher Gatelock)

Last September, a beautiful memorial for Nicky - a park bench in the form of a piano (see: - was unveiled in Perivale Park, Nicky's birthplace. It was financed through crowdfunding with many big names among its 60 contributors such as all current members of the Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts) and Bill Wyman; Jimmy Page; Roger Daltrey; Kenney Jones; Graham Parker; and Yoko Ono, raising £6,000 in total which covered the cost of the bench (£4,000) leaving a surplus of £2,000 which was immediately donated to the Academy. The £8,000 shortfall was then single-handedly met by the former personal friend of Nicky, Deborah Grabien, who flew all the way from San Francisco to attend Sunday's celebration.

Dr Matthew Ross addressing fans, friends and family of Nicky Hopkins at the Royal Academy of Music (Photo: Christopher Gatelock)

The Academy will announce the name of the student to be granted The Nicky Hopkins Award later this year. Meanwhile, fundraising continues for the 2020/21 academic year and beyond, for as long as possible into the future.

To contribute towards 
The Nicky Hopkins Award, 
click here:

"The Royal Academy of Music is immensely grateful for the support of Nicky Hopkins’s friends, family, fans and fellow musicians. Thanks to their gifts, the Nicky Hopkins Award will enable a talented young musician to study at the Royal Academy of Music. It is an honour to know that Nicky’s memory will continue through the music-making of an aspiring Academy student." said Dr Matthew Ross, the Royal Academy's Senior Philanthropy Manager.

Deborah Grabien added, "There's a certain sense of coming full circle about this scholarship. But what will really define that circle, and our journey to it, will be the moment when that next set of amazing fingers comes to rest on a piano keyboard - because the Nicky Hopkins Award has made it possible."

Moira Hopkins, Nicky Hopkin’s widow (Photo: Christopher Gatelock)

The Nicky Hopkins Memorial Park Bench in Perivale, Ealing

The Nicky Hopkins memorial bench and the Nicky Hopkins Award were the brainchild of Nicky Hopkins super fan, John Wood. As a token of the Royal Academy's appreciation for the £10,000 donation, Dr Ross presented John Wood and Deborah Grabien with a beautiful glass trophy, engraved with the inscription:

"With grateful thanks from the Royal Academy of Music to the Friends of Nicky Hopkins for the Nicky Hopkins Award."

The Royal Academy of Music 'Nicky Hopkins Award'

Nicky Hopkins (24 Feb 1944 - 6 Sept 1994) from Perivale, Middlesex, was an English pianist and organist. He received a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London; though classically trained at the Academy, it was his discovery of rock and roll, and Chuck Berry in particular, that led him to develop his own sense and style of boogie technique. He recorded and performed on some of the most significant British and American popular music recordings from the 1960s to the 1990s, including John Lennon's 'Imagine' and The Rolling Stones' 'She's A Rainbow' and is widely regarded as one of the most important session musicians in rock history, perhaps even the most important. It is an almost impossible act to quantify his near-immeasurable contribution to songs and albums so many of us know and love. Indeed his performances are part of the fabric of classic rock itself. His almost magical ability on the keyboards enabled him to weave just the right sequence of notes, which Mick Jagger acknowledged when he said, “Come on, Nicky, give us some Diamond Tiaras!”. Diamond Tiaras were, of course, what Nicky always produced.

For more information, please contact:

John Wood
+44 1342 323750
+44 777 152 0001

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