Pianist Imogen Cooper awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2019

28 August 2020, 10:28

Pianist Imogen Cooper awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2019
Pianist Imogen Cooper awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2019. Picture: Sim Canetty Clarke

By Rosie Pentreath

The internationally renowned classical artist is the fifteenth recipient of the accolade, which has been awarded to outstanding musicians since 2005.

Pianist Imogen Cooper CBE has been awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music for 2019.

The internationally-renowned pianist is the fifteenth recipient of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music, following in the footsteps of previous recipients that include violinist Nicola Benedetti, Dame Emma Kirkby and Sir Bryn Terfel.

Cooper describes feeling “humbled and honoured” to be receiving the accolade, and following in the footsteps of “colleagues whose achievements I have always admired”.

“I believe that the power of music is like no other within the arts – vitally necessary to calibrate, stimulate, move and nurture us in these turbulent times,” she says.

As well as being a soloist who’s performed with the world’s greatest orchestras, Cooper is responsible for the Imogen Cooper Trust, a charity that nurtures and mentors young musicians at the beginnings of their careers.

“Through the Imogen Cooper Music Trust, I am more than gratified to reinforce this power [of music] to a younger generation, who are starting on a long journey,” Cooper says. “My heartfelt and respectful thanks to Her Majesty.”

Read more: Pianist Imogen Cooper shares her advice for young musicians >

Imogen Cooper 70th Birthday Concert at Wigmore Hall

Speaking to Classic FM in 2018, Cooper had great advice for young musicians. “Work harder than you thought possible and learn as many works as you can whilst young, as they will stay with you.

“Accept that you won’t play everything equally well. Learn what your strong and weak points are, and be tenacious about correcting the latter!”

Cooper described her live recordings of Schubert piano works as some of her proudest achievements, as well as her work with the Chandos label. She was appointed CBE for services to music in 2007, and scooped the Royal Philharmonic Society Performers Award in 2008.

“A historically important British solo pianist, Imogen Cooper has devoted her extensive, and ongoing, performing career to her repertoire, richly upholding the values of classical music as an inspiration to listeners and colleagues worldwide,” Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, says.

What is the Queen’s Medal for Music?

Her Majesty’s Medal for Music was established in 2005 to acknowledge outstanding individuals or groups of musicians of any nationality.

The Medal was suggested by the former Master of The Queen’s Music, the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and aims to award people who have “a major influence on the musical life of the nation” annually.

Who else has won the Queen’s Medal for Music?

2005: Charles Mackerras

2006: Sir Bryn Terfel CBE

2007: Judith Weir CBE

2008: Kathryn Tickell OBE DL

2009: Sir Colin Davis CH CBE

2010: Dame Emma Kirkby DBE

2011: Nicholas Daniel

2012: National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

2013: Sir Thomas Allen CBE

2014: Simon Halsey CBE

2015: Oliver Knussen CBE

2016: Nicola Benedetti MBE

2017: Thea Musgrave CBE

2018: Gary Crosby OBE