H&H's Artistic Director Harry Christophers Receives CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for Service to Music
This morning at 11am London time, Harry Christophers, Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society (H&H), was presented at Buckingham Palace for the investiture of his CBE for his 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 was given the title of CBE as part of the Queen's 2012 Birthday Honors.
Christophers said, "This is a wonderful day for me and my family and I'm especially proud that this recognition comes at a time when the Handel and Haydn Society is going from strength to strength with our education programs, concert season, and recording work."
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. He returns to H&H in January 2013 to lead Purcell The Indian Queen at NEC's Jordan Hall on January 25 and Sanders Theater on January 27.
Harry Christophers enters his fourth season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2012–2013 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and 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 and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey towards H&H's 2015 Bicentennial with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society since 1815, ambitious education programming and community outreach activities and partnerships and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the Bicentennial. Christophers is known internationally as 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 "Choral Pilgrimage," a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. 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; The Sixteen also 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. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama and was awarded a CBE in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours.
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 is to enrich life and influence culture by performing Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence, and by providing engaging, accessible, and broadly inclusive music education and training activities. 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. Since the release of its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label in September 2010, it has made available three live commercial recordings of works by Mozart – Mass in C Minor (2010), Requiem (2011) and Coronation Mass (2012) and is planning the release of a Haydn project (2013) and of an a cappella program with its professional choir for the 2013 holiday season. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn's 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.