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Queen’s Birthday Honours for TL alum

Tue 13 October 2020

Paul Philbert awarded an MBE for services to music. 

Timpanist Paul Philbert has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists 2020.

Paul, who is the Principal Timpani of the Royal Scottish National Orchestracompleted a Dip TCL and Diploma in timpani and percussion at Trinity Laban (then Trinity College of Music), graduating in 1996. 

Over the course of his two-decade international career, Paul has enjoyed three years as the Principal Timpanist with the Orchestra of Opera North UK and 14 years as the founding Section Principal Timpanist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur. He has also regularly plays with Chineke! Orchestra and has performed with the BBC Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, the Hallé, Royal Philharmonic and Bournemouth Symphony among others. 

In addition to a celebrated performance career, the timpani player has a dedicated interest in inclusive music education. During his time in Malaysia, Paul worked with the MPO’s Education and Outreach department to provide individual lessons, coach the Youth Orchestra and facilitate workshops. 

Recently, Paul was announced as a new board member for Sistema Scotland, a charity committed to supporting children and young people in deprived areas through their ‘Big Noise’ orchestras. He is currently a Timpani Tutor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

In a recent RNSO press release Paul Philbert said –  

“It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be awarded an MBE. I am deeply moved and truly humbled to receive this accolade. Whilst I was born and raised in London and now call Glasgow my home, I have been extremely blessed that music has given me the opportunity to travel the world and to have had some extraordinary experiences working with great artists. Notwithstanding this, in many ways I feel that my voyage of discovery with this great art form is still in its infancy, and I am cognisant that there remains much to be done. 

“Music has given me the opportunity to work in a profession that I love, but the power of music extends far beyond the individual. Music can transform communities, countries, and most importantly, help children to recognise their full potential, and thus flourish in life. Our art form is exquisite, but we still have some way to go before all children will be able to see themselves reflected within professional orchestras. I hope sincerely that soon, all young people can see the world of classical music as a place where they can belong, and know that they can be assured that it is their talent and hard work that matters above all else.” 

To find out more about studying at Trinity Laban, visit our Wind, Brass & Percussion page. 

Also recognised in this year’s Birthday Honours was Trinity Laban Honorary Fellow Siobhan Davies, who has been awarded a Damehood for services to dance.  

A founding member of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, the renowned choreographer and Artistic Director founded Siobhan Davies Dance in 1988 and opened the RIBA award-winning Siobhan Davies Studios in London in 2006. Siobhan is an advocate for dance to work within and amongst other artistic disciplines 

In the company’s press release, Siobhan comments –  

“I am tremendously touched and grateful to have been championed by my peers and chosen for a Damehood as part of the 2020 Birthday Honours. I sincerely hope that this moment of recognition also shines a light on the incredible contribution that many independent artists have made, and continue to make, at Siobhan Davies Studios and in so many other contexts and situations across the UK.” 

Siobhan works with Trinity Laban and Independent Dance to deliver our MA/MFA Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice. Find out more about the postgraduate programme.