Sir Antonio Pappano receives prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award

Friday 18 January 2013

Suzi Digby OBE and Sir Antonio Pappano

Photograph by Mark Thompson

Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, has been honoured with the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Distinguished Musician Award for 2012.

The ISM, the professional body for musicians, established its Distinguished Musician Award in 1976 to recognise outstanding contributions to musical life in the UK.  Previous recipients have included luminaries such as Dame Janet Baker, Pierre Boulez, Jacqueline du Pre, Sir William Walton, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Sir Antonio Pappano is the 31st recipient of the award.

Born in London, Pappano moved to the USA at the age of 13. In 1987 he made his operatic conducting debut at the Norwegian National Opera, where he was appointed Music Director in 1990. At the age of 32 he was appointed Music Director of La Monnaie, Brussels, where he remained from 1992 to 2002. During this period he made his debuts in Vienna, at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and at the Bayreuth Festival. He became Music Director of The Royal Opera in 2002 (gaining the 2003 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera) and of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome in October 2005. Recent highlights with The Royal Opera include Der Ring des Nibelungen, new productions of Les Troyens and Il trittico, a celebration of Plácido Domingo's 40 years performing with The Royal Opera, a tour to Japan (conducting Manon, La traviata and Handel's Messiah) and the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole. He has made many recordings for EMI, most recently Rossini's Guillaume Tell (released in July 2011) and Mahler's Symphony No 6, and in May 2010 presented a widely-acclaimed series, 'Opera Italia', for BBC television.

Suzi Digby OBE, President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said:

‘In offering Sir Antonio Pappano its Distinguished Musician Award for 2012, the ISM is acknowledging the immense contribution he has made and continues to make to the UK’s musical life.’ 

Sir Antonio Pappano, said: 

‘When I perused the list of previous ISM Award recipients I gulped!  To be included in such an illustrious pantheon is an honour.  The Society does crucial work to keep classical music alive, well and relevant in this country, especially for young people, so I am very proud indeed to be associated with it.’



For further information: Talia Hull 07834 431 007/

Notes to Editors:

Previous recipients of the ISM's Distinguished Musician Award are below.

Sir Alexander Gibson CBE - 1976

Sir William Walton OM - 1977

Sir Peter Pears CBE - 1978

Sir Adrian Boult CH - 1979

Sir James Galway OBE - 1979

Jacqueline du Pre OBE - 1980

Janet Craxton (posthumous) - 1981

Sir Michael Tippett OM CH CBE - 1982

Sir Reginald Goodall CBE – 1983

Sir Charles Groves CBE - 1984

Sir Simon Rattle CBE - 1986

Norman Del Mar CBE - 1990

Witold Lutoslawski HonRAM Hon RNCM - 1991

Julian Bream - 1993

Sir Colin Davis CBE - 1995

George Malcolm CBE - 1996

Christopher Hogwood CBE - 1997

Sir David Willcocks CBE MC - 1998

Dame Fanny Waterman DBE - 2000

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CBE - 2001

Sir Charles Mackerras AC CH CBE - 2002

John McCabe CBE - 2003

Sir Malcolm Arnold CBE - 2004

Pierre Boulez - 2005

Dame Evelyn Glennie DBE - 2006

Dame Janet Baker CH DBE - 2007

Sir Mark Elder CBE - 2008

John Stephens OBE - 2009

Judith Weir CBE - 2010

Sarah Connolly CBE – 2011

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians, providing a distinctive range of services to its membership of music professionals. The ISM aims to promote the art of music and champion the interests of musicians, raising professional standards, and providing legal advice and other benefits to its members.  Its members include performers, composers, music teachers and industry professionals.  The ISM has over 100 corporate members including all the music Conservatoires, university music departments, ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall, Association of British Orchestras, Federation of Music Services, Jazz Services, Music for Youth, Oxford University Press, specialist music schools including Chetham’s School of Music and the Yehudi Menuhin School, as well as music industry and trade organisations such as the Music Industries Association, Yamaha Music, and the International Artist Managers’ Association.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians is running a campaign to safeguard creativity in schools and asks that creative subjects, including music, are included in the Ebacc. For more information on the campaign