The Queen’s Medal for Music 2020

Published 22 November 2020

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music for the year 2020 to Thomas Trotter, fifteen years to the day since the very first winner was honoured at Buckingham Palace.

Awarded every year to an outstanding individual or group of musicians, The Queen’s Medal for Music was first presented to Sir Charles Mackerras on November 22nd 2005, the feast day of St Cecilia, Patron Saint of music. The award came at the suggestion of former Master of The Queen's Music, the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Previous winners include the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, jazz musician Gary Crosby and, most recently, pianist Imogen Cooper.

Mr. Trotter is one of the world’s most revered concert organists, and is the sixteenth recipient of the award.  He has been the Birmingham City Organist since 1983, and is also a Visiting Fellow in Organ Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. 

Mr. Trotter has toured on four continents, and is often invited to perform the commissioning recital on new or restored organs, including at the Royal Albert Hall and St. David’s Hall in Cardiff. He has partnered with world renowned conductors, including Sir Charles Mackerras, the Medal’s first recipient.

In recognition of his achievements, Mr. Trotter was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s esteemed Instrumentalist Award in 2011, and was named International Performer of the Year for 2012 by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In 2016, he received the Royal College of Organists Medal, the institute’s highest honour.

The nominating process for the award is overseen by a committee chaired by the Master of The Queen's Music, Judith Weir. The committee meet annually to discuss their nominees before submitting their recommendation to The Queen for approval. 

Commenting on the award, the Master of The Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, said:

“This year’s medal salutes a world famous organist who has done so much to widen and brighten the realm of this great instrument. Thomas Trotter’s series of regular recitals over four decades as Birmingham City Organist is an inspiring example of civic engagement for all performing musicians.”

On hearing of the award, Thomas Trotter said:

“I am deeply honoured to be awarded The Queen’s Medal for Music for 2020. To have my work recognised in this way is totally unexpected and highly gratifying, and it is a privilege to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award.”