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King Charles III

For the first time in his reign, The King’s Medal for Music is awarded

For the first time during the reign of Charles III, His Majesty has approved the award of The King’s Medal for Music. The 2023 prize goes to Dame Sarah Connolly.

Dame Sarah is an English mezzo-soprano known for the richness and breadth of her work on the operatic stage and concert platform. Born in County Durham, she studied piano and singing at the Royal College of Music of which she is now a fellow. In addition to appearing in recitals and concerts, she is also a recording artist with some of her works including Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Elgar’s Sea Pictures. The recordings have won both critical acclaim and awards.

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During the Birthday Honours in 2017, Sarah was invested as a DBE and was awarded a CBE in the 2010 New Year Honours. Just a few years ago in 2020, she became an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in honour of her contribution and services to music. On the hearing of the medal, Sarah said:

“I feel incredibly honoured to receive this medal from my peers, and from King Charles whose personal involvement in the Arts means so much. The United Kingdom’s musical influence is global, and cannot be underestimated. Our success will continue with supportive, loud voices.”

The award was first established as The Queen’s Medal for Music in 2005 due to the suggestion of former Master of The Queen’s Music, the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The annual award is given to an outstanding individual or group of musicians who have made a major impact on the musical life of the nation. The nominating process is overseen by a committee chaired by The Master of The King’s Music. Judit Weir is a part of that committee.

“A world-renowned British singer, much loved by her listeners and admired by her colleagues; Dame Sarah is a passionate defender of musical education, the musical profession, and the art of music itself. It is very good news that we can celebrate her exemplary career with the award of The King’s Medal for Music.”

Sarah will be awarded the medal during an audience with The King sometime next year. The last time the award was presented was in 2021. The committee usually sits in September/October to award the medal for the year. Because of the September passing of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022, a committee was not held. Thus, forcing the award to be rescheduled.

Previous winners of the award include Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Bryn Terfel, Judith Weir, Thea Musgrave and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.