24 April 2023

Royal Academy of Music announces its 2023 honours

The Academy is pleased to announce the distinguished musicians and educators on whom honours will be conferred at its 2023 Graduation Ceremony. As we enter our third century, we are proud to celebrate a range of artists who move music forward, including Academy alumni and associates who continue to shape the musical landscape.

Legendary composer and Visiting Professor of Composition James Newton Howard will receive an Honorary Degree (Hon DMus). James is one of the most versatile composers in the industry, who has over 100 film and TV credits. With a career spanning over 30 years, he is a nine-time Oscar nominee, and Emmy and Grammy winner. His film scores include Pretty Woman, The Fugitive, Space Jam, Peter Pan, King Kong, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Dark Knight which he composed with Hans Zimmer.

Leading names from a range of musical disciplines will be awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music, including recording artist, musical theatre star and recent Olivier award-winner Beverley Knight, celebrated jazz musician Jamie Cullum, and conductor and Music Director Designate of The Royal Opera Jakub Hrůša. Violinist Hilary Hahn, pianist Maria João Pires and the Academy’s Head of Vocal Studies Kate Paterson have also been elected Honorary Members.

Musicians to be recognised as Fellows of the Royal Academy of Music, an honour reserved for Academy alumni, are pioneering singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, and prominent opera singers David Butt Philip and Freddie De Tommaso. Musician, music educator and academic Professor Susan Hallam, collaborative pianist Simon Lepper and conductor Jonathon Heyward, who was recently appointed Music Director of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, complete the list of alumni being celebrated this year.

Her Grace The Duchess of Wellington, Chairman of the Bicentenary Development Board, and Chief Executive of Britten Pears Arts Roger Wright will become Honorary Fellows of the Royal Academy of Music.

The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE, said: “As we look ahead to our third century, I’m delighted to celebrate this outstanding list of honorands who are shaping the future of music. They represent a breadth of musical genres and areas of the profession in which we are very proud to see Academy students excel across the globe.

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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