Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy, music critic, was presented with Honorary Membership of the RPS by David Lloyd-Jones at a dinner held at the Brewers’ Hall in London on 18 October 2006.

Michael Kennedy was born in Manchester and educated at Berkhamsted School. He entered journalism in 1941 and the served in the Royal Navy. He was Northern editor of the Daily Telegraph from 1960 to 1986 and has been a music critic since 1948. In 2005 he retires as chief music critic of the Sunday Telegraph.

In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by Manchester University and appointed CBE in 1997. He is a companion of the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2001, with his wife, Kennedy instituted the Joyce and Michael Kennedy award for the Singing of Strauss which is held annually at the college.

Kennedy is the biographer of Barbirolli, Boult, Britten, Elgar (twice), Strauss (twice), Vaughan Williams and Walton. He is the author of the Oxford Dictionary of Music.

Through his friendship with Vaughan Williams, pioneering work on Elgar and understanding of Strauss (particularly in the war years), Kennedy has brought a rare understanding to the music and character of a composer which still remains misunderstood by others to this day.


Humphrey Burton, first head of Music and Arts, BBC; founder/presenter of Young Musician of the Year and joint founder of the RPS Music Awards in 1989.


In early Philharmonic Society concerts, players often rotated within their orchestral section, reflecting the orchestra's wealth of performing talent as well as its democratic ethos: no ‘distinction of rank’.