The Hallé Concerts Society is delighted that Sir Mark Elder is to be awarded the Companion of Honour. The Companion of Honour is a special award granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time. The members, of whom there are only 65 at any one time, currently include actress Dame Maggie Smith, Lord Coe, Stephen Hawking, John Major and Desmond Tutu.
You can find the full 2017 Queen’s birthday honours list here.
Speaking to Classic FM, Sir Mark said:
“It was a great surprise, it’s a great thrill and if it has something to do with my wonderful orchestra in Manchester then I’m very happy.
It’s so important that the creative life of a country is celebrated at all levels and by everybody, that everybody believes the creative work of a country helps to define what that country is. And the very broad spectrum should be a big part of that. Music says something to people in their lives, whichever sort of music that is, that can’t be replaced by anything else.”
Sir Mark, who celebrated his seventieth birthday earlier this month, has been Music Director of the Hallé since 2000. His career has encompassed both opera house and concert hall, including Music Director of English National Opera (for which he received an Olivier Award), Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and close associations with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011 he became Artistic Director of Opera Rara. Sir Mark remains a regular visitor to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glyndebourne Festival Opera.He was awarded the CBE in 1989 and knighted in 2008.
Under Mark Elder’s artistic leadership, the Hallé has launched its own CD label, inaugurated a Youth Orchestra, Youth Choirs and a Children’s Choir, embarked on a number of critically acclaimed foreign tours and established a new rehearsal, recording and event venue at Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats, Manchester.
Since Mark Elder’s appointment in Manchester, the Hallé has achieved widespread acclaim from both audience and critics. Awards have come from Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Diapason, the South Bank Show and the Royal Philharmonic Society (of which Sir Mark was awarded Honorary Membership in 2011).
Mark Elder’s next appearance with the Hallé will be on Sunday 20 August at the Edinburgh Festival in a performance of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust.