BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
Press Office
Search the BBC and Web
Search BBC Press Office

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Press Releases

First winner of The Queen's Medal for Music announced at BBC Proms

Category: BBC Proms

Date: 16.07.2005
Printable version

Sir Charles Mackerras was tonight announced as the first recipient of The Queen's Medal for Music.


The announcement was made in the presence of Sir Charles and a 6000-strong capacity audience at a BBC Prom by Master of The Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.


Sir Charles was conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra and a glittering cast of soloists in Gilbert & Sullivan's opera HMS Pinafore, the second of this season's BBC Proms concerts.


The performance was live on BBC Radio 3 and recorded for broadcast on BBC ONE at a future date.


Sir Charles is the first recipient of this new award, which is to be made annually to an individual (or group of musicians) who is judged to have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.


Announcing the award at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 16 July, the Master of The Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, made the following statement: "Sir Charles Mackerras is one of the most highly respected and greatly loved musicians of our time.


"He was born in America and brought up in Australia, but he has worked in this country now for nearly sixty years, and has become a central figure in our musical life - bringing us discoveries and rare repertory in superb performances, with a continual spirit of adventure.


"Through the power and authority of his interpretations of Janacek, he introduced this country to the work of one of the greatest opera composers. He brought stylish performance practice to the music of the baroque and classical periods, especially Handel oratorio and Mozart opera.


"He has recently been enjoying acclaim around the world in a wide repertory from Brahms symphonies to Strauss operas; and this year he conducted Mozart's Magic Flute at both the Royal Opera and Glyndebourne.


"In this country, he has had long associations with English National Opera and Welsh National Opera, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.


"Abroad, he has worked extensively with the Czech Philharmonic, recorded the Janacek operas with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted the Orchestra of St Luke's in New York and the San Francisco Opera.


"He recently made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic at the age of 78, and was immediately re-invited. Sir Charles turns 80 later this year, but he has the energy and commitment of someone half his age.


"Musical life in this country has benefited immeasurably from his presence among us, and will continue to do so. It is very fitting indeed that he should be the first recipient of The Queen's Medal for Music."


Notes to Editors


The nominating process for the recipient of the medal is overseen by a Music Committee under the chairmanship of the Master of The Queen's Music. The committee members are Michael Berkeley, Nicholas Kenyon, William Lyne, the Honourable Sir Humphrey Maud, Richard Morrison and Lord Moser.


The 75mm medal has been designed by Bethan Williams and will be cast in silver. All costs relating to the medal are to be funded by the Privy Purse.


The Queen will present the medal to Sir Charles, accompanied by the Master of The Queen's Music, during a private Audience on or around November 22 2005, St Cecilia's Day (St Cecilia being the patron saint of music), which is also the birthday of Benjamin Britten. In future years the announcement of the recipient will be made on St Cecilia's Day.



Category: BBC Proms

Date: 16.07.2005
Printable version


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy