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 here 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.
'Barbara is an exceptional force of nature and a brilliant role model. I am thrilled that she will become part of the fabric of Academy life and that Reinbert de Leeuw will be remembered in her title.’
Barbara Hannigan added: ‘I am delighted to be joining the special learning environment of the Academy. The institution’s fabulous energy and purpose, alongside a high collective artistic ambition, has been a joy in my visits so far. To keep Reinbert de Leeuw's name close to mine by this title is a special honour, as Reinbert remains a deep inspiration to me in all I do. I look forward so much to my upcoming visits to the Academy, working towards launching young artists with grounded musicianship and the right skills for both successful and satisfying careers!'
This new role follows a series of recent Academy appointments of some of the greatest names in the music profession today including Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Nicky Spence, Lorenza Borrani and John Wilson.
Image 1: Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert De Leeuw © Elmer R de Haas
Image 2: Barbara Hannigan rehearsing with Academy and Juilliard students, October 2022 © Frances Marshall