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 Sir Elton has pledged to help raise the £12m needed to renovate the Royal Academy of Music’s theatre.


Last week, in a speech to musicians and benefactors at the central London academy, Elton pledged to help turn the dingy theatre into a professional venue.

Among his audience were the theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh and the philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield. He spoke after Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, the principal, paid tribute to his “extraordinary” help in raising funds for a £1.2m organ that was inaugurated last week.

After taking to the stage Elton said: “I’m not stopping at an organ. My heart beats with the Royal Academy.”

Referring to Ray Cooper, a fellow musician with whom he raised money for the new organ, he said: “We will help you build this theatre. I will do concerts and help you raise the money.”

He said the academy – whose alumni include the conductor Simon Rattle and the singer Katherine Jenkins – was “a place of sheer joy and exuberance… a place of meticulous artistry where futures are built.”

 But Elton didn’t have supportive comments about today’s ‘processed performers,’ saying they lack the skill to perform live.

And he dismissed the majority of contemporary pop hits as ‘packaged crap’ – while his songwriting is inspired by the likes of Bach and Beethoven.

Speaking at a private dinner, he cited a lifelong passion for classical music which in turn inspired his own songs.

He said; ‘I’f you love Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven, you can’t help but be influenced. They wrote the greatest melodies and the most beautiful things of all time.’’

He complained that modern music stars lack the ‘soul and humanity’ of singers such as Judy Garland and Nina Simone.

Elton said: ‘’Everything’s too flawless now. Everything’s autotuned, there’s no trace of humanity. If you go and see a Britney Spears concert, you might as well stay at home and watch the video.’’