A Grammy award-winning conductor, who has performed with some of the world's most prestigious orchestras, has backed a campaign to safeguard the music service that first inspired him. 

Bramwell Tovey attended Redbridge Music Service (RMS) as a child growing up in Redbridge. 

The former Ilford County High School pupil, who won a Grammy in 2008 for a recording his piece Barber, Korngold and Walton Concertos, played his first major orchestral work with the RMS in the late 60s and taught music theory at the RMS while at secondary school.

The current director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra says the RMS enabled him to become a professional musician after his father, a councillor and staunch supporter of the RMS, died when he was aged just 15 and his mother could no longer afford the costs.  

Under the proposals to be debated on March 5, Redbridge council want to make savings of £370,000 over the next two years by cutting the service's funding completely. 

This includes outsourcing the instrument loan and repair service at the Barkingside-based centre in Fencepiece Road, transferring staff and reviewing all staffs terms and conditions. 

He has now backed the 'Hands off RMS' campaign started by parent group, Friends of the RMS, and is urging the council to reconsider a move which they say would effectively privatise music education.

Mr Tovey said: “To cut it to zero within two years without proper consultation and planning is irresponsible.

"This is an investment for children and particularly those children on the margins of society whose families will not be able to afford any kind of involvement in music. 

"If a child is holding a musical instrument then he or she is not holding a cigarette, a joint, a knife, a needle or a gun.

"Deputy leader Wes Streeting, the chief advocate of privatisation, was happy to tweet in September about the RMS being an 'exemplar of music education’, yet four months later he is voting for discontinuation of council funding.

"It is a decision without vision, without merit, and without any realization of the positive nature of the power of music in young people's lives."

Cllr Streeting responded to criticism online by saying: "I’m passionate defender of the arts and I’m doing my best to safeguard locally in the face of eye-watering govt cuts. [sic]"

An e-petition launched this week has 261 signatures and the ‘Hands off RMS’ Facebook page, started on January 25, has attracted 937 likes.