Julian Lloyd Webber and Imogen Cooper among classical musicians in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021

11 June 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 11 June 2021, 22:57

Jess Gillam, Imogen Cooper and Julian Lloyd Webber named in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021
Jess Gillam, Imogen Cooper and Julian Lloyd Webber named in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021. Picture: Getty/Sussie Ahlburg

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Stars of classical music and the arts have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2021.

Leading figures from the classical world have been named in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Conductor and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, who recently presented Rising Stars on Classic FM celebrating 30 brilliant young musicians under 30, has been awarded an OBE for his services to music.

“I am delighted to receive this special honour,” he told Classic FM. “I have been fortunate to work with so many wonderful musical collaborators over the years and I want to thank each and every one of them for helping to make this Award possible.”

The former Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is recognised alongside internationally renowned pianist Imogen Cooper, who is made a Dame (DBE). Cooper is regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic piano repertoire.

Lloyd Webber told us: “I believe that I was incredibly lucky to have begun my career a few months after Britain joined the European Union. This meant that I could build an international career without the obstacle course faced by UK musicians today. I could play in all the major cities in Europe without wasting valuable hours at embassies, queuing for visas when I could have been rehearsing.”

Taking the opportunity to comment on Brexit’s impact on the music industry, he added: “Until the UK government fulfils its promise to deliver a solution to the current predicament, it will be very much harder for young British artists to establish international careers.”

Read more: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s contribution to classical music

French horn player Sarah Willis, whose project combining Mozart’s popular horn solo moments with traditional Cuban music last year was a viral hit, is awarded MBE, while star saxophonist and presenter Jess Gillam, is awarded MBE for her services to music.

On learning of her award, Gillam said: “I feel extremely touched to receive this award, especially in a year where so many people have done such incredible and selfless things.

“It’s very unexpected and a complete surprise - I’m very grateful to all of those who have supported me and to have had the opportunity to learn an instrument in the first place. Music has changed my life and I‘m passionate about sharing its magic with other people!”

Elsewhere in classical music, founder of Opera Holland Park Michael Volpe is made OBE, and keyboardist and songwriter Rick Wakeman is awarded CBE.

In the world of dance, former ballerina and choreographer Arlene Phillips has been made a Dame for services to dance and charity.

For services to music, Jamaican contemporary composer and pianist Eleanor Alberga is awarded OBE.

British composer Huw Watkins, and opera singer Dr Jeremy Huw Williams, are also recognised for their services to music and charity.