Composer & viola-player Sally Beamish [pictured] is to receive an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to music.

The honour celebrates a career of distinction, and a musician of faultless craft, endless creativity and immense human compassion.

Sally Beamish said: ”In these bleak times for music and the arts, I am delighted to receive this honour. It means a great deal to me that creativity, and the role of the creator in society, have been recognised as important to all of us, and vital to the wellbeing of a healthy society. I would also like to acknowledge the support and inspiration I have received along the way, in particular from my family: my brothers, my children, and their father Robert Irvine, and my husband Peter Thomson. I would also like to mention my mother, who, by example and encouragement, gave me the confidence never to doubt that a girl could be a composer. Further thanks are due to my son Tom Irvine, himself a composer, who gives me practical support on a daily basis; and also toDr Gerry Mattock, who has commissioned work from me for over 20 years, and of course all the superb musicians with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. Last but not least, I’m extremely grateful to The Scottish Music Centre, BIS Records and my publishers: Norsk Musikforlag and Edition Peters.” 


Oboist Nicholas Daniel has been appointed an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.  An internationally acclaimed soloist, Nicholas is a founding member of Britten Sinfonia and the orchestra’s principal oboe and has appeared as soloist on stage and in several of the orchestra’s award-winning recordings.

Commenting on his award, Nicholas Daniel says: “Being recognised for my dedication to music means a lot to me, as I truly believe in music’s transformative power and its importance to all our lives. Music is my life, and I intend to continue to further causes close to my heart: particularly our campaign, Every Child a Musician, to get every child in Britain playing instruments and singing in their primary schools; also to help care for and support young musicians, especially young Black, Asian and ethnically diverse musicians; and to continue to promote, support and celebrate Britain’s many great composers.”

Meurig Bowen, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Britten Sinfonia comments: “Already awarded the prestigious Queen’s Medal for Music, Nick’s status as one of our most distinguished musicians – and as one of the world’s greatest wind players – is reinforced further by this richly deserved OBE. Britten Sinfonia has benefitted hugely over the years from his expressive playing, advocacy for new music and sheer force of his musical personality. In these particularly challenging times for the arts and performers, it’s great that Nick has been recognised in this way.”


British-Polish violinist Jennifer Pike has been awarded an MBE for her Services to Classical Music.

Jennifer Pike said: ‘I am honoured to receive an MBE for Services to Classical Music. Performing has been my life for over 20 years and I have been privileged to have been a part of the fabric of the performing arts, such a vital part of our identity, and experienced the impact it has on the world stage. 

Creativity, music and the arts have been a part of our culture and a human need for thousands of years, giving us hope, expression and meaning to our lives. Music is a part of our daily life in ways that is sometimes easy to miss, whether part of life’s great celebrations, a score to our favourite film, or simply a birthday song we sing whilst washing our hands! 

Not only do the Performing Arts contribute billions to the economy but it also gives us the power to connect and heal as a nation, which will be a vital lifeline to so many after this pandemic. Freelance musicians, orchestras and so many behind the scenes are the foundation of our culture and will be at the core of our national recovery, and I appeal for support at this time to save the arts in Britain. I will continue to serve Classical Music and with this award I hope to highlight the enormous benefits that it can bring to our society.