Entertainment & Arts

Composer Michael Berkeley to become Lord

Michael Berkeley
Image caption Michael Berkeley became a CBE in 2012 for services to music

The composer and broadcaster Michael Berkeley is to be made a non-party political peer in the House of Lords.

Berkeley, who became a CBE in 2012 for services to music, has been presenting the weekly Radio 3 programme Private Passions for more than 15 years.

As a composer, Berkeley has written for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the BBC Proms and the Royal Ballet.

The 64-year-old said he felt "very honoured to be appointed" to the House of Lords.

"I am particularly pleased that the Appointments Commission was keen to increase representation in the field of music and the arts," he continued.

As host of Private Passions, Berkeley has interviewed more than 700 guests including artist David Hockney, naturalist Sir David Attenborough and musician Elvis Costello.

"Michael is not only an accomplished composer but also an expert communicator, not least reflected in his ability to have engaging and insightful conversations with his guests," said Radio 3 controller Roger Wright.

"This recognition of his place in our society is hugely deserved."

As a boy, Berkeley was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral.

He studied composition, singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music and won the Guinness Prize for Composition in 1977.

Berkeley was artistic director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music for 10 years and is chairman of the governors of the Royal Ballet.

He collaborated with U2 guitarist The Edge on the score for 1986 film Captive and has written the music for two other films.

He has been commissioned to write an anthem for next month's enthronement of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

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