Shop for CDs, Merchandise and Downloads here

Kathryn Tickell

Kathryn Tickell to be awarded Queen’s Medal for Music

January 17th, 2009

Kathryn Tickell is to be awarded the prestigious Queen’s Medal for Music. The award will be formally announced by Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, at a ceremony at The Sage Gateshead on Monday 26th January.

Approved by the Queen, this annual award is presented to an individual (or group of musicians) who is judged to have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation. The nominating process for the recipient of the medal is overseen by a Music Committee under the chairmanship of the Master of The Queen”s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The committee members are Michael Berkeley, Nicholas Kenyon, William Lyne, the Honourable Sir Humphrey Maud, Richard Morrison and Lord Moser. Previous recipients have included the Welsh tenor Bryn Terfel, composer Judith Weir and the conductor Sir Charles Mackerras (winner of the first ever Queen’s Medal for Music in 2005).

Speaking of the announcement and Kathryn’s work, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies said, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to present the Queen”s Medal to Kathryn Tickell as she is not only the foremost Northumbrian Pipes player, a great composer and a wonderful all-round musician, but for her work in music education and in putting the pipes and the music of her own part of England back among the public where it belongs, and also spreading a love of this music throughout the whole world.” Kathryn will be presented with the Medal itself in a private audience with The Queen later this year.

The Sage Gateshead’s acclaimed youth folk ensemble, Folkestra, will perform live at a special event to celebrate the announcement at The Sage Gateshead on 26th January. Folkestra, which was founded by and is still directed by Kathryn Tickell, is a unique collaborative group whose repertoire includes traditional music and members” own compositions. With two successful CDs and a growing national reputation for energetic live performances, Folkestra has performed at numerous concerts and festivals across the country, from Towersey to Edinburgh, and most recently at the BBC Proms first ever Folk Day in 2008, performing a specially commissioned piece written by Kathryn herself.

Kathryn Tickell was recently appointed Artistic Director of Folkworks, one of the founding partners of The Sage Gateshead. In this role, which she will take up from September 2009, Kathryn will be responsible for providing artistic leadership, advice and inspiration for the folk music programme within The Sage Gateshead, and for other Folkworks projects taking place regionally, nationally and internationally, including the annual programme of Summer Schools.

Kathryn Tickell is a composer, performer and successful recording artist whose work is deeply rooted to the landscape and people of Northumbria. She also works collaboratively across many genres, making her work contemporary and exciting, and putting her firmly at the forefront of the current folk music revival. In 2008 she became the first folk musician in history to be commissioned to write a piece for the BBC Proms. It was written for The Sage Gateshead’s unique collaborative regional youth ensemble Folkestra (of which Kathryn remains Music Director), Muzsikás, London Sinfonietta and London Young Musicians. One of the foremost composers of our time and Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, composed a piece especially for Kathryn, commissioned by The Sage Gateshead and premiered with musicians from Northern Sinfonia in October 2006 and aired on BBC Radio 3.

Winner of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award’s Musician of the Year in 2005, Kathryn was the subject of a Channel 5 television documentary ‘Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbria’, which is being broadcast again this Sunday (18th January) on Sky Arts 1 at 8pm, and has made numerous TV and radio appearances. In July 2007, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of Northumbria for her outstanding and inspirational achievements.


Notes to editors:

  • Background of the award
  1. The nominating process for the recipient of the medal is overseen by a Music Committee under the chairmanship of the Master of The Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
  2. The committee members are Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, The Lord Moser, William Lyne, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Richard Morrison, The Hon. Sir Humphrey Maud and Michael Berkeley.
  3. The 75mm medal is designed by Bethan Williams and is cast in silver. All costs relating to the medal are funded by the Privy Purse.
  • Folkworks played a key role in the planning and development of The Sage Gateshead and along with the other founding musical partner, Northern Sinfoni
  • The Folkworks programme continues within the music centre through the wide ranging programme of concerts, weekly classes, Absolute Beginners Workouts, and festivals, including the forthcoming Fiddles on Fire Festival over the Easter weekend in April 2009
  • To find out more about Kathryn Tickell, including upcoming performances, visit
  • To find out more about Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, visit

For more information, images or interview requests please contact: Helen Fussell, Head of Strategic Communications, The Sage Gateshead (t) 0191 443 5037 (e)

Date of release – 15th January 2009


Cloud Horizons artwork

Cloud Horizons

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening’s second album, released September 1st 2023.

Read more

Get the latest news from Kathryn Tickell

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience from our website. Learn more