Gyorgy Ligeti

The Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal has been given to one of the giants of the post-Second World War generation, the Hungarian composer György Ligeti.

The Gold Medal was presented to Ligeti in Vienna by RPS Chairman Tony Fell, and Richard Steinitz, a friend of Ligeti and author of a recent biography of the composer György Ligeti: Music of the Imagination (Faber)

In making the Award the Council’s citation read:

“Ligeti is a composer of endless curiosity and constant reinvention, a teacher and inspirer of others whose extraordinary achievements embody the RPS’s values of Creativity, Excellence and Understanding. He is one of the few composers who consistently communicates with audiences; his music speaks to a very wide audience across many boundaries and is now reaching a younger generation.”

Ligeti is only the 90th recipient of the RPS Gold Medal and joins an outstanding list of musicians, composers and conductors, including (most recently) Alfred Brendel, Colin Davis, Elliott Carter, Rafael Kubelik, Pierre Boulez, Simon Rattle, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland and Claudio Abbado.


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.


Before there were traffic lights: coachmen delivering audience members to Philharmonic Society concerts at the Harmonic Institution were asked to ‘set down and take up with their horses’ heads facing Piccadilly’.