THE QUEEN’S MEDAL FOR MUSIC 2021

Published 22 November 2021

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music for the year 2021 to John Wallace CBE.

An internationally renowned Scottish trumpet soloist, composer and educator, John Wallace is the seventeenth recipient of the award, following the celebrated organist Thomas Trotter, who received The Queen's Medal for Music 2020.

John Wallace started playing the trumpet when he was seven years old, and at sixteen, toured Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. His professional career spans over five decades, playing with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra.

John has dedicated much of his career to the promotion of arts education. He served as Head of the Brass Faculty at the Royal Academy of Music in London, before becoming Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, formerly the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, the Leeds Conservatoire, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.   

As well as his career as soloist, John Wallace is the founder of the Wallace Collection, a brass ensemble currently based in St Andrews. The Wallace Collection has toured all over the world, and is now based in Scotland as a partner of the St Andrews Music Participation (StAMP) Project, which has given 150 youngsters across Fife the opportunity to start learning a brass instrument since the start of the pandemic. John also convenes the Music Education Partnership Group, which worked to secure free instrumental tuition in Scottish state schools.

The Queen’s Medal for Music was established in 2005 at the suggestion of former Master of The Queen's Music, the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding individual or group of musicians who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.

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, Judith Weir said: 

“Following his stellar career as a trumpet player, John Wallace transformed arts education during his stewardship of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His creativity and energy remain an inspiration and example to everyone in the musical world.”

On hearing of the award, John Wallace said: 

“I am honoured and humbled to accept this award.  I work with many teams of inspiring musicians across every genre of music and aspect of music education in Scotland. I just light the touch-paper and stand back. This award is recognition of the indomitable spirit of those musicians.”

History of The Queen’s Medal for Music

The Queen's Medal for Music is awarded annually to an outstanding individual or group of musicians. Nominees for the award may be of any nationality. 

The award was first made in 2005, when the recipient was conductor and composer the late Sir Charles Mackerras. Other recipients of the award include:

2006 Sir Bryn Terfel CBE

2007 Judith Weir CBE

2008 Kathryn Tickell OBE DL

2009 Sir Colin Davis CH CBE

2010 Dame Emma Kirkby DBE

2011 Nicholas Daniel

2012 National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

2013 Sir Thomas Allen CBE

2014 Simon Halsey CBE

2015 Oliver Knussen CBE

2016 Nicola Benedetti MBE

2017 Thea Musgrave CBE

2018 Gary Crosby OBE

2019 Imogen Cooper CBE

2020 Thomas Trotter

The Queen is Patron of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music; Camerata Ireland; Help Musicians UK; the London Symphony Orchestra; the Royal Academy of Music; the Royal Choral Society; the Royal College of Music; the Royal College of Organists; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and Orchestra; the Royal Northern College of Music; the Royal Philharmonic Society; the Royal School of Church Music; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain; and the Windsor and Eton Choral Society.