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Lord Lipsey awarded Trinity Laban Honorary Companionship

Mon 16 April 2018

Journalist, politician, and former Chair of Trinity Laban, Lord Lipsey, has been appointed Honorary Companion of the conservatoire.

At a ceremony on Friday 13 April Lord Lipsey was presented with his Honorary Companionship by current Chair, Harriet Harman.

This is the highest award bestowed by Trinity Laban, and is held by just seven other individuals in recognition of their exceptional service to the institution. The award recognises Lord Lipsey’s service to Trinity Laban, and his wider work promoting classical music and higher education.

A practice room at King Charles Court, home to Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music, has also been renamed the David Lipsey Room.

In the 1970s, David Lipsey (born 21 April 1948) was political adviser to Foreign Secretary Anthony Crosland and Prime Minister Jim Callaghan before turning to journalism. He was Editor of New Society magazine, Deputy to the Editor of The Times and Political Editor (‘Bagehot’) of the Economist. He was created a life peer in 1999.

As a member of the House of Lords and lover of classical music, Lord Lipsey was appointed chair of the parliamentary All Party Classical Music Group in 2011. The Group, which had been all but defunct, was revitalised as a voice for classical music in parliament. It still flourishes under his joint chairmanship today.

Lord Lipsey chaired Trinity Laban from 2012 to 2017, during which time the conservatoire entered the Research Excellence Framework, and was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers. His chairmanship was also characterised by his activity in the House of Lords: he was a passionate supporter of international students, an effective lobbyist against cuts to the Disabled Students Allowance, and an important voice in shaping the new Teaching Excellence Framework.

Lord Lipsey has frequently stated that his greatest pleasure as Chair was helping and supporting the development of young artists. He had a particular love of the piano and was thrilled by the success of a superb, award-winning generation of Trinity Laban pianists, including Gen Li, Naufal Mukumi, Iyad Sughayer and Jenna Sung. Li, Mukumi and Sughayer all performed at the Honorary Companionship presentation ceremony.

(Lord Lipsey and Harriet Harman. Image credit: JK Photography)

Speaking at the ceremony, Lord Lipsey said –

“I am prouder of this honour than any other I’ve ever had, including membership of the House of Lords! I love this place… Chairing Trinity Laban is the best thing I’ve ever done.

A conservatoire is a magnificent thing. Why? Because it is an organisation that teaches both individuality and teamwork. If you come to study here, you have to work hard on your own. But also – be it in a quartet, a symphony orchestra, in a CoLab project with dancers – you have to come together with others. That is what makes a conservatoire so special in our education system.”

At the end of a citation covering Lord Lipsey’s career and contributions to Trinity Laban, the Principal, Professor Anthony Bowne said –

“David has been immensely supportive of all the staff and students at Trinity Laban. He has been a great ambassador for Trinity Laban and an advocate for the conservatoire sector in general, and he continues be so.”

(Main image: Left to right – Pianists Iyad Sughayer and Naufal Mukumi, former Head of Piano at Trinity Laban Deniz Gelenbe, Lord Lipsey, pianist Gen Li. Image credit: JK Photography)