What are the YAMawards?

YAM (Young Audiences Music) is an official program of JM International (JMI), the world’s largest youth music NGO. The platform is dedicated to bringing live music to children and youth worldwide (20,000+ concerts held annually) as well as providing support to professionals in this space. YAM places the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child* at its core, working to ensure access to music and culture as a basic human right for every young person and child.

Since the YAMawards launched in 2008, only the best of the best in Young Audiences Music productions have prevailed. The level of craft, depth of storytelling and passion inherent to each finalist and winner, a testament to what it takes to truly engage and inspire young minds. And this year was no different.

Award Categories

Best Small Ensemble for young audiences:

The Best Small Ensemble Category is open to live music productions by professionals of groups from 1 - 10 musicians. Productions could be designed for school or theatre settings and are judged by their artist integrity, relevance and impact. We are looking for productions that inspire, push artistic boundaries and engage audiences in new ways. Multidisciplinary productions (musical theatre, etc) are welcome, but music must always remain the focal element of the production.

Best Large Ensemble for young audiences:

The Best Large Ensemble Category is targeted at professional orchestras and other large ensembles (10+ musicians) performing for young audiences. We look for ensembles that go beyond playing their regular repertoire, productions that are either designed specifically for young audiences or that have made a considerable effort to appeal to a young public. On top of artistic excellence, the award aims to honour innovation within the form, whether that be artistic, production or other.

Best Opera for young audiences: Presented by RESEO (The European Network for Opera and Dance Education), the Best Opera for young audiences award is attributed to new works for young audiences of all ages, based upon new librettos (adaptations of existing stories are accepted) or new compositions.

Best Participatory Project with young audiences:

Celebrating young audiences music projects where the process outweighs the artistic outcome, this category focuses on projects involving kids as participants or as amateur musicians; whether a performance, musical workshop, a co-production or simply using music to sensitise kids to ideas and concepts. The most important factor is that young audiences be directly engaged in the creative process.

Best Digital Production for young audiences:

A special category introduced in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity to create digital young audience music productions. The Best Digital Production Category will focus on live music productions that have been adapted for a digital format. Independent of genre, ensemble size or artistic intention, the jury looks at how well the production suits the medium, how innovative the approach is, the overall artistic quality of the production, as well as its impact and outreach.

Past Winners

Previous YAMawards winners include Oorkaan (The Netherlands), Gabor Vosteen (Hungary), Bach in the Street (Sweden), Cie Balle Rouge (France), Glyndeborne (UK) Rikskonsertene/Kulturtanken (Norway), Smalands Musik&Teater (Sweden), Body Rhythm Factory (Denmark), Zonzo Compagnie (Belgium), Umculo (South Africa) and Muziektheater Transparant (Belgium).

See them all here