Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Simon Keenlyside and Classic FM’s Composer in Residence Debbie Wiseman recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

8 June 2018, 22:30

Debbie Wiseman, Kiri Te Kanawa and Simon Keenlyside
Debbie Wiseman, Kiri Te Kanawa and Simon Keenlyside. Picture: PA, Getty

By Elizabeth Davis

Leading figures from the classical world have been honoured alongside actor Emma Thompson – who’s made a Dame – and author Kazuo Ishiguro, who is given a Knighthood

Stars of the classical world have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is made a Companion of Honour. She joins conductor Sir Mark Elder and percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie in the prestigious order that only includes 65 people at any time.

Baritone Simon Keenlyside is given a knighthood, while composer Thomas Adès, best known for his operas Powder Her Face and The Exterminating Angel, is made a CBE.

Classic FM’s Composer in Residence, Debbie Wiseman has been awarded an OBE for Services to Music. She told Classic FM she was ‘completely thrilled’ with the honour:

“It’s wonderful to be able to share this with all the brilliant, talented musicians that bring my music to life. They have such skill and dedication plus all the hugely talented directors and producers that have given me the opportunity to write music for their productions. It's absolutely beyond my wildest dreams.

“I'm not a life-saving heart surgeon, I make music, which I love doing and I make music with the most wonderful musicians in the country.”

She also told Classic FM that she almost didn’t receive the letter:

“The letter of notification went to my manager's old address and it was languishing in an empty office space for probably about three weeks and nobody had picked it up. And it was only when she received a call from a very lovely gentleman asking if the letter had been passed on to me, that we found out about the honour.”

Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote is also recognised with an OBE while Gillian Moore, Director of Music at Southbank Centre, has been honoured with a CBE. Susanna Eastburn, head of Sound and Music, is made an MBE, along with Barry Farrimond, the chief executive of OpenUp Music – a charity that aims to make orchestras more accessible to young disabled musicians.

Rosemary Johnson, the outgoing chief executive of the Royal Philharmonic Society, is also made an MBE.

In the world of dance, Director of the Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare is made a CBE. And in jazz, pianist Julian Joseph is made an OBE while trombonist Dennis Rollins gets an MBE.

Meanwhile, actor Emma Thompson is made a Dame and author Kazuo Ishiguro is knighted. Actors Tom Hardy and Keira Knightley are made a CBE and OBE respectively. Veteran broadcaster and author Bamber Gascoigne is made a CBE.