Thea Musgrave named an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society


Composer Thea Musgrave CBE has been made an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in recognition of his outstanding services to music.

The composer was featured with her RPS honorary member at her home in New York. The occasion was filmed, and you can find the footage on YouTube:

The RPS first introduced honorary membership in 1826, seeking to recognize “those who devote their lives to music and uplift others with it”. The first recipient was composer Carl Maria von Weber.

The following list of honorary members includes composers such as Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Verdi, Dvorák and Clara Schumann, as well as performers (Yehudi Menuhin, Janet Baker, Evelyn Glennie) and conductors (Pierre Boulez, Marin Alsop).

During the presentation, the following quote was read by Vanessa Reed, on behalf of the RPS Board and Council:

‘Born in 1928, and still hard at work writing music 94 years later, Thea is a musical icon. Over a remarkable international career, Thea has created work brimming with energy, ready to roll off the pages and capture our imaginations.

“His music is brimming with such style and sophistication, constantly asking fresh and bold questions about musical forms and traditions. She draws us in by infusing her music with much of the world we know, drawing inspiration in particular from paintings, poems, myths and her Scottish heritage as the starting point for so many of her musical journeys.

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Born in Scotland, Thea Musgrave studied at the University of Edinburgh and at the Paris Conservatory with Nadia Boulanger. She then studied with Aaron Copland at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center.

Over seven decades of composing, Musgrave has produced works for various BBC choirs and orchestras, as well as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and others.

Notable works include his Concerto for Orchestra (1967), play area (1974), opera Mary, Queen of Scots (1977), and Songs for a winter evening (1995).

Oboists, in particular, have Musgrave to thank for a wide range of new work. His long friendship with the oboist Nicholas Daniel has resulted in a large number of modern works for this instrument.

Thea Musgrave has also received several grants, awards and honours, including IVORs, a CBE (2002) and the Queen’s Medal for Music.


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