Simon Halsey awarded The Queen's Medal for Music

Thursday 12 March 2015

We are delighted that LSO Choral Director Simon Halsey has been awarded Her Majesty’s Medal for Music 2014 by Her Majesty The Queen.

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.

Simon Halsey was presented with the award by The Queen at a reception at Buckingham Palace following a performance by the LSO on Wednesday 11 March 2015.

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

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, and rewards an individual who has had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.

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 Chorus, 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.'

Kathryn McDowell, LSO Managing Director commented: 'Simon Halsey’s impact on singing in this country is extraordinary – inspiring people of all ages to sing together and raising standards of choral singing wherever he goes. The LSO is delighted that Simon Halsey’s work has been recognised by the award of The Queen’s Medal for Music, and look forward to many years of fabulous music-making with the London Symphony Chorus, the LSO Discovery Youth Choirs and the wider community who join us for Singing Days.'

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