Fiona Robertson wins major contemporary music award

28 Feb 2019

Fiona Robertson, Director of the acclaimed Scottish new music organisation sound, is to be awarded the prestigious Leslie Boosey Award by the Royal Philharmonic Society.

The Award is presented every two years in recognition of those who work tirelessly ‘backstage’ to champion new music. The Award is not for composers or performers, but for programmers, publishers, broadcasters, administrators, educationalists and figures from the recording industry.

Based in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, sound supports composers, organises outreach and community work and runs the soundfestival, Scotland’s festival of new music. Fiona helped establish the organisation in 2004 and has since worked tirelessly transforming its scope, commissioning over 120 new works from a range of composers and supporting many others. She has produced hundreds of events, brought many distinguished composers to North East Scotland, and nurtured a vibrant audience and community for new music in Scotland beyond the strongholds of Glasgow and Edinburgh. She was also instrumental in setting up New Music Scotland, bringing together promoters, composers and performers in Scotland.

The Award is given in memory of Leslie Boosey (1887 – 1979), the music publisher who merged his family firm to establish Boosey & Hawkes, one of the world’s leading publishing companies. He was responsible for cultivating and promoting a range of eminent composers as well as striving to achieve better rights and royalties in perpetuity for composers internationally.

Previous recipients have included Amelia Freedman CBE, founder and director of the Nash Ensemble; Southbank Centre’s Director of Music Gillian Moore CBE; music publishers Sally Groves MBE, Sally Cavender and Bill Colleran; Jackie and Stephen Newbould for their work running the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; NMC Recordings and Colin Matthews OBE, not for his work as a composer but in founding NMC and his work on behalf of the Britten Estate and the Red House at Aldeburgh. Fiona Robertson is the first person based in Scotland to win the Award.

James Murphy, Chief Executive of the Royal Philharmonic Society, says: ‘Comprising leading figures from the music profession, our panel was unanimously impressed by the quality and scope of all Fiona has accomplished. She has made new music resound in an area where it may otherwise scarcely be heard.’

Fiona Robertson says: ‘I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Leslie Boosey Award, and proud to join a list of such illustrious previous recipients. Its great recognition for the work that many other people as well as myself have put in to developing sound and creating new music opportunities in Scotland, in particular in the North East.’

The Award – a resplendent bronze eagle commissioned from renowned sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink – will be presented to Fiona shortly.


Dame Fanny Waterman DBE, pianist, teacher and founder of the Leeds Piano Competition: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2011.


Over 130 new works have been commissioned by or dedicated to the RPS since 1813. Nearly half of these were commissioned since 2000.