Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Chief Executive Michael Eakin awarded OBE for services to music and to the community in Liverpool

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Chief Executive, Michael Eakin, is being awarded an OBE in The King’s New Year’s Honours list for services to music and to the community in Liverpool.

Michael Eakin has been Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic since 2008. The organisation includes the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and associated ensembles and choirs, a substantial music learning and talent development programme, and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. In this role he has led the organisation through significant growth, including a £14m refurbishment of the Hall, sustained growth in audience numbers and in the breadth and ambition of both the Orchestra and Hall concert programmes, and the development of groundbreaking health and learning programmes which continue to benefit the local community.

Michael Eakin commented, ‘I am proud and grateful to be awarded this honour. Throughout my career it has been a joy to work in the arts, and nowhere more so than at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. This organisation is central to the cultural identity and life of Liverpool, and, indeed, the UK. It reaches right across our community, entertaining and inspiring hundreds of thousands of people through our concert and learning programmes. Liverpool Philharmonic enjoys immense support from local people and partners, and I can think of no better city in which to lead a music organisation. I am privileged to work with an incredible team of colleagues and this award is as much a recognition for their work and dedication as it is for me.’

Louise Shepherd, Chair of the Board commented, ‘On behalf of the board, staff members, musicians and friends of Liverpool Philharmonic, I want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Michael. His unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership has been pivotal to the continued success and growth of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and Orchestra.

Through his outstanding work to foster community engagement and expand music educational programmes and opportunities for children and young people across the City Region, coupled with further elevating the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s recognition as one of the world’s leading Orchestras, Michael has played a crucial role in shaping the Society as one of the UK’s leading cultural institutions.

Michael joined Liverpool Philharmonic from Arts Council England, with whom he had been Executive Director North West since 2001. Previously, he was Director of Arts and Leisure for Reading Borough Council, with a portfolio including the arts and theatre, libraries, museums and archives, sport and leisure, and tourism.

His initial career was in theatre and concert hall management, including several years as Director of the presenting theatre and concert hall, The Hexagon, Reading. Here he programmed across several artforms including orchestral and popular music, theatre, opera, and dance. He also led the establishment in Reading of the UK’s major annual world music festival, the WOMAD Festival, in partnership with the WOMAD organisation, and the renovation and re-opening of the 19th Century Reading Concert Hall.

He is a former Chair of the Association of British Orchestras and a former Vice President of the Theatrical Management Association (now UK Theatre). Eakin was a member of the National Council of Arts Council England between 2018 and 2022 and is Chair of the Liverpool City Region Music Board. He was the Liverpool City Region Cultural Leader of the Year, and overall Leader of the Year the Liverpool Daily Post Leader Awards 2013, and winner of the Association of British Orchestras Concert Hall Manager of the Year award in 2015. Eakin was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Liverpool in 2022 in recognition of his contribution to arts and culture in Liverpool.