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HRH The Prince of Wales with this year's honrands and prize winners

HRH The Prince of Wales honours Sir Antonio Pappano, Jonas Kaufmann and other celebrated musicians at RCM ceremony

Tuesday 3 March 2020

HRH The Prince of Wales today made his annual President’s visit to the Royal College of Music to confer honours to leading names in the international music world, including Sir Antonio Pappano, Jonas Kaufmann, Debbie Wiseman OBE and Rachel Portman OBE among many others.

In his 27th year as President of the College, the Prince also explored the latest developments in the RCM’s transformational More Music: Reimagining the Royal College of Music project, which aims to build new facilities and improve existing spaces, expand the RCM’s scholarship programme, research and digital capabilities, and support the College’s outreach work. 

Internationally acclaimed conductor and Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Sir Antonio Pappano, received an Honorary Doctorate from the College. Pappano has nurtured many former students as they progress from the RCM Opera Studio on to the professional stage, with numerous students having been accepted onto the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in recent years. Next week, Pappano conducts the RCM Symphony Orchestra in a sold-out concert of Ravel and Saint-Saëns which will be broadcast live on the RCM website.

He commented: ‘I never would have thought from taking my Grade 1 music exam as a youngster, that I’d one day be receiving a doctorate from a world-renowned institution such as the Royal College of Music. Having this honour bestowed on me is humbling yet brings me such joy.’

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann also received an Honorary Doctorate. Described by the New York Times as ‘the most important, versatile tenor of his generation’, Kaufmann rose to fame through his spinto roles, most notably at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has won four Gramophone Awards for his operatic albums, of which Pappano conducted Verismo Arias, which won the Recital Award in 2011.

Among those made Fellows of the RCM were Music Director of English National Opera, Martyn Brabbins; Grammy-nominated composer, Classic FM’s Composer in Residence and RCM Visiting Professor Debbie Wiseman OBE; and Academy-Award-winning composer Rachel Portman OBE. Portman was the first female composer to win an Academy Award in the category of Best Musical or Comedy Score (for Emma in 1996). She was also the first woman to receive the Richard Kirk Award at the BMI Film & TV Awards for her contributions to film and television music.

As part of the ceremony, HRH The Prince of Wales heard a musical performance featuring some of the RCM’s exceptional students. Mezzo-soprano Emily Sierra performed, having won the President's Award, as did prize-winners harpist Bethan Griffiths, pianist Roelof Temmingh and percussionist Jess Wood.

RCM Director Professor Colin Lawson said: ‘The President's visit is always a significant moment in the Royal College of Music's calendar and this year we honour some exceptional musicians, including some of the biggest names in the world of opera, and two of the foremost film and TV composers of our generation. I hope our talented students continue to be inspired by the wonderful musicians we honour each year and aspire to reach similar heights of musical success.’

After the ceremony, HRH The Prince of Wales explored the latest developments in the multi-million-pound project to transform the RCM, including the newly-built Royal College of Music Museum opening in summer 2020. He is Patron of the More Music Campaign, which aims to strengthen the RCM as a cultural venue of international significance and create a greatly enhanced environment for students, professors, visiting musicians and the many visitors the RCM attracts each year.