Susanna Eastburn receives major contemporary music award

Susanna sat at a grand piano with her Lesley Boosie Award (a bronze eagle on a plinth)
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Today we’re excited to announce that Susanna Eastburn MBE, Chief Executive of Sound and Music, has been awarded the prestigious Leslie Boosey Award by the Royal Philharmonic Society. 

The Award is presented, usually every two years, in recognition of those who work tirelessly ‘backstage’ to champion new music. The Award is not for composers or performers, but for programmers, publishers, broadcasters, administrators, educationalists and figures from the recording industry. 

The Award comes as Susanna marks a decade leading Sound and Music, a role she took on in September 2012. Since then, she and her team have transformed the scope and reputation of everything the organisation vibrantly does to support a wide range of music creators and composers through multiple initiatives and partnerships nationwide. Previously Susanna was Director of Music at Arts Council England and, before that, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 

The Award is given in memory of Leslie Boosey (1887 – 1979), the music publisher who merged his family firm to establish Boosey & Hawkes, one of the world’s leading publishing companies. He was responsible for cultivating and promoting a range of eminent composers as well as striving to achieve better rights and royalties in perpetuity for composers internationally.

Susanna Eastburn & James Murphy outside the Summer School, after presenting the award

Previous recipients have included Amelia Freedman, founder and director of the Nash Ensemble; Southbank Centre’s Director of Music Gillian Moore; music publishers Sally Groves, Sally Cavender and Bill Colleran; Jackie and Stephen Newbould for their work running the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; NMC Recordings and Colin Matthews, not for his work as a composer but in founding NMC and his work on behalf of the Britten Estate and the Red House at Aldeburgh; and most recently Fiona Robertson, Director of Aberdeenshire’s sound festival, and the first person based in Scotland to win the Award. 

James Murphy, RPS Chief Executive says:Ask anyone in the profession and they will tell you what a constant, committed force for good Susanna is. She cares deeply about building better pathways and opportunities for music creators. We need activists, advocates and evangelists for new music like Susanna more than ever before. 

Susanna Eastburn MBE says:I am enormously honoured to receive the Leslie Boosey Award. From the very start of my career I have believed passionately in the vital role that new music, and the people who create it, have in society. It’s a task for all of us who care about the future of culture to ensure that a wider range of composers and music creators are supported, whether they are just starting out (like the talented young people attending the Sound and Music Summer School) or working professionally. Having wonderful like-minded colleagues at the RPS and elsewhere makes this so much more achievable, so I’d like to thank James and the RPS deeply for this honour, and above all I’d like to thank the many composers I’ve had the good fortune to work with, who are such an inspiration. 

The Award – a resplendent bronze eagle commissioned from renowned sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink – was presented to Susanna by James at the Sound and Music Summer School, which annually gives 75 young composers and music creators the opportunity to explore and develop their musical creativity. 

For further press information, please contact:  

Royal Philharmonic Society
Charlotte Smith, Administrator

Sound and Music
Sam Corcoran, Communications Co-ordinator

Explore our range of programmes supporting composers

Learn more about the Royal Philharmonic Society

Find out more about the Sound and Music Summer School

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