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Conductor Harry Christophers receives Honorary Degree from Northumbria University

8th December 2017

World-renowned music conductor Harry Christophers CBE has been awarded an Honorary Degree by Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Harry stands among today’s great champions of choral music. In partnership with ‘The Sixteen’, the ensemble he founded almost 40 years ago, the conductor has set benchmark standards for the performance of everything from late medieval music to new works by contemporary composers.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chancellor of Northumbria University, Newcastle, presented him with his honorary degree, during an evening of celebration and music, held at the University. Guests were treated to a special performance by The Sixteen, conducted by Christophers himself.

Harry Christophers Honorary Degree celebration from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

Under his leadership, The Sixteen has established its annual Choral Pilgrimage to cathedrals, churches and other UK venues, created the Sacred Music series for BBC television, and developed an acclaimed period-instrument orchestra.

Christophers’ international influence is supported by more than 170 recordings and has been enhanced by his work as Artistic Director of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society.

He was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Granada Orchestra in 2008 and has worked as guest conductor with, among others, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsches Kammerphilharmonie. Christophers has also guest conducted the Royal Northern Sinfonia, based at Sage, Gateshead.

Harry Christophers CBE said: “I am very humbled to receive an Honorary Degree from Northumbria University, Newcastle, and it is wonderful to be recognised in this way. I would like to thanks all my wonderful friends and colleagues in The Sixteen who have made the past four decades so rich, fun and fulfilling. It has and continues to be such a privilege to explore and make music together.”

Christophers was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours for his services to music.

He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has Honorary Doctorates in Music from the Universities of Leicester and Canterbury Christ Church.

The recipients of Honorary Degrees are nominated by Northumbria University’s staff for their achievements, their links to the University – and for their sheer inspirational qualities. 

Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, said: “We are delighted to confer the award of Doctor of Music, in recognition of all that Harry Christophers has built through extraordinary musical talent, creativity and vision; in particular his work with The Sixteen – rightly recognised as one of the premier vocal ensembles of our time –  and with Genesis Sixteen, and the charity MusicAction.”

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