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June 18, 2012 (Boston, MA) – Harry Christophers, Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society (H&H), has been named in the Queen of England’s 2012 Birthday Honors List, receiving a CBE for services to music. CBE is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II, and stands for “Commander of the Order of the British Empire.” The Order of the British Empire is an order of Chivalry introduced by King George V in 1917 as recognition for those who had served the country in a non-combatant role during World War I. Awards are given in five ranks, listed from the highest: Knight Grand Cross (GBE), Knight Commander (KBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE). In addition to his role as Artistic Director at H&H, Christophers is the founder and conductor of the British ensemble The Sixteen.
Christophers said, “It is one of the greatest honors to receive this award, and it is with enormous pride that I thank the wealth of wonderful musicians, supporters and audiences whom I have conducted and performed for throughout my career.”
In September 2011, Christophers’ contract with the Handel and Haydn Society was extended; he will lead the organization artistically through the 2015 Bicentennial, and remain at the helm of the institution until 2016.
The 2012–2013 Season will mark Harry Christophers’ fourth as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society. He has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers’ tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009–2010 season. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 197 years, and partnered with the CORO label to produce a series of recordings leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. In 2000, he instituted The Sixteen’s “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. With that ensemble, he has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009, he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award, and The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama. He received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen of England in 2012 for services to music.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is considered the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, is committed to its mission to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical New England and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In Since September 2010, H&H has released two CDs with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart Mass in C Minor and Mozart Requiem, and will complete a Mozart trilogy with the release of Mozart Coronation Mass in September 2012. The trilogy is the first collection of works in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. H&H recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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