Queen's Medal for Music 2014 announced


The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music 2014 to Mr Simon Halsey.

The prize, established in 2005, is awarded to an outstanding individual or group of musicians who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.

Mr Halsey will be presented with the award by The Queen at a reception at Buckingham Palace following a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mr Halsey is the tenth recipient of the award and follows in the footsteps of other well-known recipients such as Bryn Terfel, Dame Emma Kirkby and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

The medal recognises an individual who has had a major influence on the musical life of the nation. The nominating process for the award is overseen by a committee under the chairmanship of the Master of The Queen's Music, currently Judith Weir. The Committee's recommendation is then submitted to The Queen for her approval.

Commenting on the award, Judith Weir said: "Choral conductor Simon Halsey has made a fundamental contribution to European music through his championship of choral singing as a vital part of orchestral performance, a British tradition which stretches back several centuries. In 1983, he took over the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Choruses, now a world-leading ensemble which, having founded several youth and community choruses along the way, he still directs. As a close colleague of Sir Simon Rattle in both Birmingham and Berlin, he has devised and conducted numerous innovative projects in his time with the Berlin Radio Chorus; and more recently has assumed care of the London Symphony Chorus. His lively, participatory style has inspired a new generation of young choral directors, together with a remarkable upsurge of interest in choirs and singing in the UK".

On hearing of the award Mr Halsey said: “I am so surprised and thrilled to receive this extraordinary honour from Her Majesty the Queen. Choral music is a vital part of our national life and is such a force for social and educational good. I’d like to see this medal as recognition of the work of a whole generation of dedicated choral musicians.”