Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society is awarded in recognition of services to music. Recipients have included composers, conductors, performers, music commentators, patrons, programmers, publishers and educationists.
Since 1826, when the first recipient was Carl Maria von Weber, Honorary Membership has been awarded fewer than 130 times.
Among the many celebrated names on the list are Mendelssohn (1829) Rossini (1839), Berlioz (1859), Wagner (1860), Brahms (1882), Clara Schumann (1887), Stravinsky (1921), Aaron Copland (1970), Paul Sacher (1991) and Evelyn Barbirolli (2001).
So it is congratulations to Marin Alsop who was given the award during her performance at the Prom Concert last night when she conducted performances of the music of John Adams and Gustav Mahler with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
I missed the first half of the concert on TV which was unfortunate as I am a great fan of Adams music and in particular the exuberant “Short Ride in a Fast Machine”
However, the performance of Mahler’s 1st symphony was wonderful, beautifully controlled, dynamically expressive and with great attention to detail. It was good to hear the BBC Symphony Orchestra in good form (they have something of a reputation for being temperamental and giving conductors a hard time) and responding to the encouragement of Marin Alsop.
Both the orchestra and Alsop got a wonderful reception from the proms audience and there is no doubt that Alsop has become a musical fixture at the proms (and almost an honorary Brit) particularly after her successful leading of the “last night” in 2013…………long may this continue.