Royal honour for Birmingham musician

BCMG artist given Queen’s Medal for Music.

Composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, who is Artist-in-Association with the award-winning Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, has this week been named as the recipient of two top awards.

On Thursday he won the 2016 Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music, and on Friday was named as the recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Music, one of the UK’s highest musical accolades.

Oliver Knussen has enjoyed a long and close association with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group – the last decade as Artist-in-Association – and is a familiar figure on stage at the ensemble’s CBSO Centre home, most recently conducting a dance-infused programme to open BCMG’s current season in October 2015. He has also led BCMG internationally, including an acclaimed tour to the National Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2014, and acts as an invaluable mentor to young composers as part of the BCMG/Sound And Music Apprentice Composer scheme.

Stephen Newbould, Artistic Director of BCMG, presented Oliver Knussen with his Ivor Novello Award at a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House, London on Thursday 19 May.

Stephen comments: “Oliver Knussen is devoted to music and to his colleagues, and both BCMG and Birmingham have been lucky to have been able to enjoy so much of his music and his wonderful musicianship. As a composer, each new piece has the dazzle and supreme craftsmanship of a Faberge egg. As a conductor, he has generously and selflessly supported a host of other composers, young and old, with flawless premieres and performances, throughout his career. No-one in our part of the musical world is held in such esteem and affection and I’m so delighted this has been recognised with the Ivor Novello Classical Music Award and the Queen’s Medal for Music.”

The Queen’s Medal for Music is presented annually to a figure recognised as making a great contribution to musical life in Great Britain. Previous recipients include Bryan Terfal, Kathryn Tickell and Simon Halsey.

The Ivor Novello Awards recognise excellence in British and Irish songwriting and composing.