Press Release: Brian May awarded The Musicians’ Company Popular Music Lifetime Achievement Award 2018



Brian May receives Pop Music Lifetime Achievement award
16 April 2018

Brian May and Lady Brewer
Brian May and Lady Brewer

Photo: Brian with Master of the Musicians’ Company Lady Brewer, who presented his award. Brian May, CBE, is a founding member of Queen, a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer. Queen have seen a staggering list of sales and awards with a catalogue that consistently tops popularity polls and sees the band remain the most successful albums act in UK chart history. Brian has penned 22 Queen top 20 hits, among them the powerful ballads ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’, ‘No-One But You’ and ‘Save Me’, along with anthems ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘I Want It All’ and ‘We Will Rock You’.

In 2016, The Musicians” Company inaugurated new awards in Popular Music, to support young promising talent at the BRIT School and the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM), the Company also awarded its first award for Music Direction in Musical Theatre.

Each year the Musicians’ Company, one of the oldest and most respected charitable companies in the City of London, donates over £250,000 in scholarships and awards in support of young musicians at the start of their careers across all musical disciplines.

Associated with its widespread support for young musicians across all musical genres, the Musicians’ Company has a long tradition of recognising creative talent and the contribution that distinguished artists have made to the music profession from Elgar and Vaughan Williams to John Dankworth and Ronnie Scott. The Company added a Lifetime Achievement award in Popular Music in 2016 when the winner was Annie Lennox and Brian May received this award on Wednesday 11th April from the Master of the Musicians’ Company, Lady Brewer.

Brian May says: “I felt very touched and honoured to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement medal. The Worshipful Company of Musicians dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, when this City of London livery was created to regulate and protect the exponents of popular music in the day. Over the years its focus changed, and by the beginning of the 20th century it had become concerned almost exclusively with classical music.

“But in recent years the order has opened up first to Jazz and now to Rock music. Following in the steps of past luminous honourees including Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, I was excited to be the first Rock Guitarist to be given this accolade. I would like to say thank you to the Worshipful Company for their very existence, for taking music directly into British schools where in many cases the arts have become sidelined in the syllabus, and for their work to promote music as a force of unification in the world. I recognised that in these times when the Truth is hard to find, and we are all being pressured into parroting the same ‘acceptable’ views, music has the powers to cross all barriers and bring peace.”

– For over 500 years the Worshipful Company of Musicians has supported the music profession in all its forms.   – Every year the Company gives a range of awards, scholarships and medals, which make a real difference to the lives of outstanding young singers, composers and instrumentalists as they make the transition from study to a professional career in music.

– The John Christie Award is the Company’s oldest award with a distinguished list of past winners. Other awards range from Classical Music to Jazz, Music Theatre, Popular Music, Brass Bands and the Military Schools of Music.

– In addition to their specific award, our winners are invited to become Yeomen for the next five years. This entitles them to be considered for a range of performance opportunities, which the Company arranges – probably their top priority as they seek to become known. This year our Yeomen will give over 100 performances at venues ranging from the Wigmore Hall, where the Company organises its own concerts every year, to major music festivals across the country.

– Our Yeomen also take part in an extensive Outreach Programme, taking music into primary schools mainly in the more deprived inner London boroughs that have little or no music provision and include some special needs schools. In 2017 42 of our young artists made 131 visits to 57 London state primary schools reaching 8,000 children.