Sir John Tomlinson has been named as the latest recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal, the society’s highest honour.
The bass will receive the award as part of the RPS’ annual awards ceremony, at the Dorchester Hotel in London on 13 May. He joins a list of current holders including conductor Sir Simon Rattle, pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Alfred Brendel and András Schiff, composer Pierre Boulez, and fellow singers including Dame Janet Baker, Thomas Quasthoff and Placido Domingo.
Previous awardees since the medal was instituted in 1871 represent a roll-call of the musical establishment, including figures such as Brahms, Richard Strauss, Shostakovich, Britten and Pierre Boulez. Singers have included Clara Butt, Kathleen Ferrier and Joan Sutherland.
This morning it was also announced that from September Sir John will take up an international chair in singing at the Royal Northern College of Music, as an alumni of the then Royal Manchester College of Music.
‘Learning to sing for most young singers is a lengthy and difficult process that needs time, patience, and devoted work,’ said Sir John of his appointment, ‘which is why I want to contribute to the development of RNCM vocal students. It’s a long hard road with lots of wrong turns that can be taken, and I feel duty bound to spend some of my time now, in the latter part of my performing career, helping them on their journey. The old college was of enormous benefit to me ‒ perhaps I can return the favour.’
Sir John will appear as The Green Knight in a concert hall staging of Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain on 16 May at the Barbican.