The eminent musician and businessperson Kathryn McDowell CBE, DL, Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and Chair of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) has been awarded the ISM Distinguished Musician Award 2017 for her extraordinary services to music as a leading figure in the orchestral sector.

Of receiving the award, Kathryn McDowell CBE, DL said: ‘Since I first worked in professional music in the 1980s, I have been privileged to work with so many inspiring composers, performers and fellow producers with a passion to share music-making as widely and deeply as possible. It’s particularly touching to be given this award by that very same group and I am extremely grateful to the ISM and its President, Sue Sturrock.’

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of the Musicians said: ‘We are delighted to award the ISM Distinguished Musician Award to Kathryn McDowell CBE, DL as an acknowledgement and celebration of her extraordinary contribution to music as a leading figure in the orchestral sector.’

About Kathryn McDowell CBE, DL
Kathryn McDowell joined the London Symphony Orchestra as Managing Director in 2005. She was brought up in Northern Ireland and read Music at Edinburgh University. After a post-graduate course in teacher training, she spent a year in Vienna as a volunteer working with political refugees in a UN camp. In the mid-eighties Kathryn became one of the first education and community managers with orchestras, creating an extensive programme with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and leading the ABO’s first national education project. She also worked with Welsh National Opera and the Ulster Orchestra, before becoming Music Director of the Arts Council of England in the nineties. Since then, she led the bid for the creation of the Wales Millennium Centre and directed the City of London Festival. Kathryn is a Trustee of the Leeds International Piano Competition and a member of the St. Paul’s Cathedral Council. She was Chair of the Association of British Orchestras (2014-2017); Chair of the ABO’s Sustainable Touring Review (2007-2010); Chair of the Family Friendly Arts Campaign (2011-2015); a Trustee of the Royal Philharmonic Society (1999-2006); and a Governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (2007-2016). She holds honorary awards from Trinity College, the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London in 2009, awarded a CBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in 2017 was made a Freeman (by Special Nomination) of the City of London.

About the ISM’s Distinguished Musician Award
Established in 1976, the ISM’s Distinguished Musician Award recognises outstanding contributions that an individual (member or non-member) has made to musical life in the UK. Only one award is made each year and previous recipients include Sir Antonio Pappano, Dame Felicity Lott, Sir William Walton, Sir Peter Pears, Sir Adrian Boult, Sir James Galway, Jacqueline du Pré OBE, Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Charles Groves, Sir Simon Rattle, Norman Del Mar, Sir Colin Davis, Christopher Hogwood, Sir David Willcocks, Dame Fanny Waterman, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Charles Mackerras, John McCabe, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Pierre Boulez, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Dame Janet Baker, Sir Mark Elder, John Stephens, Sarah Connolly, Judith Weir, Julian Lloyd Webber, Dame Emma Kirkby and Oliver Knussen CBE. The award is always dated the year before it is awarded to correspond with the term of the ISM President.

About the ISM
The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. We were set up in 1882 to promote the art of music and to protect the interests of all musicians. Today we support nearly 9,000 members with unrivalled services and expert advice, from study up until retirement and beyond.


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