Embargoed until 00:01 Thursday 29 January 2014
28 January 2014
The Association of British Orchestras has presented the 2013 ABO Award to Sir Vernon Ellis at a ceremony at the ABO Conference in London.

The ABO Award is presented annually to the individual or institution considered by the membership to have made the most important contribution to the orchestral life of the UK.

Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Philharmonic and Chair or the ABO said: “This year the board decided, as it constitutes a significant strand of this year’s conference, that it would be appropriate to honour the role that philanthropy plays in ensuring the health and indeed survival of the orchestral sector. Sir Vernon has an unparalleled record of supporting artists, orchestras and other musical charities.”

The full citation reads as follows:

This year’s winner is one of the UK’s leading supporters of the arts, and is perhaps best known in our sector for his astute chairmanship of English National Opera from 2005-2012, after which he succeeded the late Lord Harewood as President. He is also involved in several other musical organisations and is Chairman of the National Opera Studio. Through his Foundation he supports several arts companies, artists and charities. The Foundation also manages around 60 concerts a year at his London home, providing many leading artists with a run-through ahead of major public engagements but also development and showcasing opportunities for young artists as well as fundraising opportunities for musical organisations, including ABO members, and charities.

He was Chairman of the Classical Opera Company from its foundation in 1997 until 2009 and remains its President. He was a Trustee of the Royal College of Music from 2004-2010 and was awarded a Fellowship of the RCM in 2012. He was a member of the Philanthropy Review, a task force formed in 2011 to make recommendations for increasing levels of giving and makes frequent speeches on this topic as well as on arts infrastructure and funding. He was knighted for services to music in 2011 and in 2013 was awarded a Beacon Fellowship for Cultural Philanthropy. He was appointed Chair of the Arts and Media Honours Committee in 2012.

He is currently Chair of the British Council, and this award also recognises the contribution that that institution has made to the international reputation and success of British orchestras, and the close relationship that it has developed with the ABO itself, one of the key partners for this year’s conference, more of which you will hear about at the closing session on Friday.

For more information please contact Keith Motson, Membership & Communications Manager, ABO on   
Notes to Editors:
Established in 1947, the Association of British Orchestras is the national body representing the collective interests of professional and youth orchestras throughout the UK and is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Classical Music. The Professional Partnerships project, funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music, has three key elements: (i) the survey of youth ensembles in 2013; (ii) regional networking meetings for and with youth orchestras hosted by professional orchestras from January to March 2014, and (iii) professional partnerships between youth orchestras and professional orchestras.