University of Leicester to award honorary degree to philharmonic conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy

Posted by hct16 at Feb 13, 2013 12:15 PM |
Highly regarded conductor to be honoured at degree ceremony to precede Philharmonia performance on Saturday 23 February
University of Leicester to award honorary degree to philharmonic conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy

Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate.

Issue by University of Leicester Press Office 13 Febuary 2013

The University of Leicester is to honour Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate, with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music at a special graduation ceremony on Saturday 23 February.

The ceremony will take place at 6.15pm in De Montfort Hall, immediately before the main evening concert at 7.30pm in which Mr Ashkenazy will be conducting.

The rare honour of a University of Leicester Doctor of Music degree has only been awarded a handful of times. Previous recipients include Benjamin Britten, Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Collin Davis. 

Vladimir Ashkenazy made his name during the Iron Curtain-era, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest pianists to have lived. He has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra from the beginning of his career as a pianist, conductor and occasionally as both. In 2000, he was given the title of Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has since spearheaded a number of concert series including Rachmaninoff Revisited (2002), and Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin (2003).

The graduation ceremony is open to concert goers. The concert that follows features music by Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 21 K467 “Elvira Madigan”) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). There is also a performance of a new work by the popular British Composer, Nimrod Borenstein. 

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester: “Mr Ashkenazy is receiving this honour on account of his talent as a conductor, his successful career and his connection with the Philharmonia which has resulted in him developing a relationship with the University of Leicester.”

Vladimir Ashkenazy: "I've been to Leicester many times over the course of my career and have always enjoyed the contact with wonderful and very appreciative audiences. I'm delighted and truly honoured to receive this degree and I look forward to many more visits to Leicester in the future!"

David Whelton, Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra: “The Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy have a long, deep- rooted relationship – the kind of which is rare. Without question, he has the sort of musical mind that we will only witness a handful of times in our lifetimes. In Leicester, his name is unquestionably linked with the Philharmonia, so it is an occasion we will all cherish.”

For more information, pictures, biographies, and interviews, please contact Jim Follett:, 020 7921 3932

Notes to editors:
1. Honorary Degree Award Ceremony details:
Saturday 23 February, 6.15pm; De Montfort Hall, Leicester. Audience attendance welcome.

2.     Concert details:
Saturday 23 February 2013, 7.30pm; De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor; Tamara Stefanovich piano; Elizabeth Watts soprano
BORENSTEIN The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe; MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21, K467; MAHLER Symphony No. 4

3.     Vladimir Ashkenazy
One of the most outstanding pianists of the 20th century, Vladimir Ashkenazy continues to record piano repertoire for Decca. His most recent solo release is a disc featuring Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 1 and his Variations on a Theme of Chopin.

Conducting has formed the largest part of his activities for the past 20 years. In January 2009 he took up the new position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser to the Sydney Symphony, collaborating with them on extensive recording projects and international tours each year. Ashkenazy is Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia, Iceland Symphony and NHK Symphony orchestras and Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra. He maintains strong links with major orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as making guest appearances with leading ensembles all over the world.

4.     Philharmonia Orchestra
The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the world’s great orchestras. Acknowledged as the UK’s foremost musical pioneer, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience. Together with its relationships with the world’s most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at the heart of British musical life.

Today, the Philharmonia has the greatest claim of any orchestra to be the UK’s National Orchestra. It is committed to presenting the same quality, live music-making in venues throughout the country as it brings to London and the great concert halls of the world. In 2012/13 the Orchestra is performing more than 150 concerts, as well as presenting live digital events and recording scores for films, CDs and computer games.

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