Simon Halsey awarded the Queen's Medal for Music

Gramophone Wed 11th March 2015

The prize is awarded annually to someone who has had a major influence on the musical life of the nation

Simon Halsey (photo Matthias Heyde)

Simon Halsey (photo Matthias Heyde)

Choral director Simon Halsey has been awarded the Queen's Medal for Music 2014. Halsey has been the Chorus Director of the CBSO Choruses since 1983 and in 2012 became Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He is also Principal Conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir and will become their Conducter Laureate in May.

Composer Judith Weir, who sat on the award's committee, said, 'Choral conductor Simon Halsey has made a fundamental contribution to European music through his championship of choral singing as a vital part of orchestral performance, a British tradition which stretches back several centuries...His lively, participatory style has inspired a new generation of young choral directors, together with a remarkable upsurge of interest in choirs and singing in the UK.'

Previous recipients of the Queen's Medal for Music include Sir Charles Mackerras, Bryn Terfel, Judith Weir, Kathryn Tickell, Sir Colin Davis and Dame Emma Kirkby.

Simon Halsey was a key part of the creative team, alongside director Peter Sellars and Sir Simon Rattle, that staged Bach's St Matthew Passion with the Berlin Radio Choir and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The DVD recording of this production was a Gramophone Editor's Choice in the July 2012 issue. Below, you can watch Halsey and Sellars in a fascinating discussion about Bach's music, from the Berlin Philharmonie:

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