Conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier presented composer Henri Dutilleux with the RPS Gold Medal on Wednesday 2 April 2008 in front of a capacity audience at the Wigmore Hall.
The presentation followed a concert by the Nash Ensemble which included the world premiere of a revised version of Dutilleux’s atmospheric cycle of instrumental ‘snapshots’ Mystère de l’instant, written for the conductor Paul Sacher, his Diptyque for four players incorporating ‘quotations’ from Benjamin Britten and Jehan Alain, and the poetic string quartet Ainsi la nuit.
Reading the Council citation, Graham Sheffield Chairman of the RPS said:
"Henri Dutilleux has consistently produced work at the very highest level, holding steadfastly to his compositional principals and resisting the merely fashionable to create a distinctive and powerful language. His music deals with the issues of our day, but remains timeless, and its gentle sincerity makes it communicate at every level. His example has become a role model for a new generation of composers who find in his music an open-mindedness that engages them by its warmth and individuality. Henri Dutilleux stands for lucidity, sincerity and clarity of utterance: these are qualities that the Royal Philharmonic Society recognizes and salutes.”
The RPS Gold Medal was initiated in 1870 to commemorate the centenary of Beethoven’s birth and bears the image of Beethoven. It is the Society’s highest honour and is awarded internationally for the most outstanding musicianship.
Paul Hughes, General Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra: Since 1979 when I won the RPS composition prize this amazing organisation has been part of my life, placing music at the heart of modern life.
DID YOU KNOW?
During World War 2, when the BBCSO was evacuated to Bristol, the RPS stepped in to ensure that the 1940 Proms season would go ahead.