Published 16 July 2005

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

The Queen has approved the award of The Queen's Medal for Music to Sir Charles Mackerras, CH, AC, CBE.

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 16 July 2005, 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 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."