1 June 2023

Barbara Hannigan appointed Reinbert de Leeuw Professor of Music at the Royal Academy of Music

The Academy is proud to announce that distinguished soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan is to become Reinbert de Leeuw Professor of Music at the Royal Academy of Music.

This new visiting role will see Barbara direct ensembles, mentor singers and offer guidance to students on strategies for optimising performance.

The professorship is named after Reinbert De Leeuw, who died in 2020, and was one of Barbara’s most important mentors and beloved colleagues. He was also a highly respected visitor to the Academy. One of his most notable projects with the institution included a side-by-side Kurtag concert with the London Sinfonietta in 2002, as part of the Academy’s series of composer festivals.

Barbara Hannigan is an artist at the forefront of creation, with a profound commitment to the music of our time. She has given the world premiere performances of over 85 new works, and has collaborated extensively with composers including György Ligeti, Henri Dutilleux, Gerald Barry, John Zorn, George Benjamin and Hans Abrahamsen. In addition to her Grammy-award winning recording career, Barbara continues to perform on the world’s most famous stages as singer and conductor with leading orchestras, including engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and Gothenburg Symphony, where she is principal guest conductor. This appointment builds upon Barbara’s role as a mentor for the next generation of artists.

Academy Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE said: ‘Our two periods of concerts and recording this year – and most recently with The Juilliard School where Barbara has been a Creative Associate – have inspired us all in countless ways, but most of all offering ever-fresh artistic possibilities to our students and enabling them to deliver brave and innovative performances.

Notes to editors

The Royal Academy of Music moves music forward by inspiring successive generations of musicians to connect, collaborate and create. We are the meeting point between the traditions of the past and the talent of the future, seeking out and supporting the musicians today whose music will move the world tomorrow.

From pre-school to post-doc, our students come here from more than 50 countries. We challenge them to find their own voice, take risks and push boundaries. Jacob Collier, Freddie De Tommaso, Edward Gardner, Evelyn Glennie, Elton John, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Felicity Lott and Simon Rattle all learnt their craft here.

Every student benefits from a stimulating curriculum and an ambitious range of concerts and events. Legendary artists come here not just to perform, but to become mentors, friends and musical partners.

A world of music comes to us – and we send music back out into the world. As we embark on our third century, our aim is to shape the future of music by discovering and supporting talent wherever it exists.

Music never stands still – and nor will we.

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