Pianist Imogen Cooper has been awarded a damehood in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours, having previously been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2007 New Year Honours. She was also previously awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2019 in tribute to her contribution to the musical life of the UK. She was joined in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours by a tranche of other classical musicians who also received awards for services to music.
Composer, keyboardist and former member of rock band Yes Rick Wakeman was awarded a CBE for services to music and broadcasting, while OBEs were given to composers Eleanor Alberga and Huw Watkins, as well as cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, who has recently celebrated his 70th birthday with the release of a new album The Singing Strad, a selection of his favourite pieces for cello. We recently spoke to cellist Julian Lloyd Webber on the Music to my Ears Podcast.
The Hallé Orchestra’s CEO John Summers was also awarded an OBE for services to music and education, while young saxophonist and BBC Radio 3 presenter Jess Gillam was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In May 2020, she appeared as a guest in the Royal Albert Hall’s VE Day 75 Commemoration, and also launched her Virtual Scratch Orchestra during lockdown, inviting musicians to play with her online. The former BBC Young Musician finalist has also found success as a presenter as part of the BBC Young Musician team, as well as on her own BBC Radio 3 programme This Classical Life, which is about to embark on its first live broadcast at the Southbank Centre.
Baritone Jeremy Huw Williams was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to music and charity. Alan Hawkshaw, composer of the themes to Channel 4 News, Grange Hill and Countdown was also awarded the Medal for services to music and composing.