What inspired the Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund?

The Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund was launched by Yehudi Menuhin in 1990 to honour the memory of Nannie Jamieson who was the first Organising Secretary of ESTA (UK). For many years she was the viola player in the Robert Masters Piano Quartet before she became Professor of Viola at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She also taught at Chetham’s School, Manchester and Homerton College, Cambridge. In 1981, her outstanding work was more widely recognised when she was awarded an MBE for services to music.

Teaching was her passion. She helped her students to obtain wide experience of teaching by encouraging them to attend courses at home and abroad, often paying the fees out of her own pocket. The Nutshell Fund adopted this approach to help members of ESTA (UK). The name of the fund was adopted from the title of a demonstration lecture, developed by Nannie, which covered a great deal of the basics of violin and viola playing. She called it Technique in a Nutshell. Later, she documented her views in an ESTA publication of the same name.

The bursaries were funded from initial contributions of £30,000, collected shortly after her death in 1990. Since then, the assets of the Nutshell Fund have grown through specific fund raising activities and generous donations. More recently, there has been corporate sponsorship which has allowed many more bursaries to be awarded. ESTA (UK) graciously acknowledges the considerable assistance recently provided by Thomastik Infeld Vienna, Wittner and Jargar. The ESTA Bursary Committee, which administers the NJNF, is always delighted to receive further donations to help more and more ESTA members develop and broaden their teaching skills.

In 2003, the committee of the Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund published an appreciation of her life and work. The booklet, ‘The Red Hot Magnet’, was aptly named from a phrase borrowed from one of Nannie’s exercises for the left hand. Copies of the booklet may be obtained from Judith Cooper. The high respect which Nannie earned from everyone is clearly apparent in the articles from all of its contributors. Here are just a few.

Yehudi Menuhin - “I can still hear Nannie Jamieson’s voice as we discussed over decades so many subjects, musical, human and, of course, ESTA.”
Christopher Bunting - “I remember her in many ways: the oriflamme of her hair atop her twinkling eyes, her enthusiasm for music and people, and her outstanding dedication to her students.”
Max Rostal - “That the world should go on as before without Nannie Jamieson seems inconceivable. Her warm personality, her charm, her great humanity, her helplfulness to her students, to her colleagues, to her innumerable friends and particularly ESTA, as well as to myself, were certainly unique”
Igor Ozim - “Who will not remember Nannie’s great sense of humour and her tremendous perseverance – it was virtually impossible to say ‘no’ to her.”


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