John Tomlinson

The celebrated English bass, Sir John Tomlinson CBE, has been awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, one of classical music’s highest honours.

The RPS Gold Medal was presented to John Tomlinson by RPS Chairman John Gilhooly at the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards at London’s Dorchester Hotel, in front of an audience of musicians and leading music figures. The citation of the Royal Philharmonic Council read:

Sir John Tomlinson is a great British Wagnerian with a truly international reputation. For more than 40 years his magnificent bass voice has thrilled audiences around the world in opera and in concert.
He is a giant of a musician, not only in the rich resonance of his voice, but in his magnetic presence on stage and in his utmost generosity to his fellow musicians.
He sings with all the major British opera companies, and for the Royal Opera in 2008 he gave a towering performance creating the title role of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur. For eighteen consecutive seasons he appeared at Bayreuth, performing the leading roles in many of Wagner’s works. The role of Wotan he made his own – living out the tragedy in a portrayal that is both epic and human and in which every word and nuance is heard.
There are no pretensions about John Tom. For him celebrity status is irrelevant – the crucial thing is singing; and it is the desire to sing and communicate, and the obsession to get it right every time, that drive him.
John Tomlinson is an international treasure and an inspiration to the next generation.

John Tomlinson joins an illustrious list of current RPS Gold Medallists: Simon Rattle, Janet Baker, Daniel Barenboim, Mitsuko Uchida, Thomas Quasthoff, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Alfred Brendel, Placido Domingo, Pierre Boulez, György Kurtág and András Schiff. He is also a triple RPS Music Award winner (taking home the RPS Music Award for Singer in 1991,1998 and 2007.

More about the Gold Medal
Read the Press Release


George Benjamin, composer, conductor, teacher, programmer: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2011.


The Philharmonic Society was founded by professional musicians in 1813 to perform publicly ‘in the most perfect manner possible, the best and most approved music'.