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University of Leicester to award honorary degree to philharmonic conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy

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University of Leicester to award honorary degree to philharmonic conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy


Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Communities

Joint press release issued by University of Leicester and the Philharmonia Orchestra


Issue date: 13 February 2013




Highly regarded conductor to be honoured at degree ceremony to precede Philharmonia performance on Saturday 23 February


The University of Leicester is to honour Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate, with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music at a special graduation ceremony on Saturday 23 February.

The ceremony will take place at 6.15pm in De Montfort Hall, immediately before the main evening concert at 7.30pm in which Mr Ashkenazy will be conducting.

The rare honour of a University of Leicester Doctor of Music degree has only been awarded a handful of times. Previous recipients include Benjamin Britten, Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Collin Davis. 

Vladimir Ashkenazy made his name during the Iron Curtain-era, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest pianists to have lived. He has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra from the beginning of his career as a pianist, conductor and occasionally as both. In 2000, he was given the title of Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has since spearheaded a number of concert series including Rachmaninoff Revisited (2002), and Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin (2003).

The graduation ceremony is open to concert goers. The concert that follows features music by Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 21 K467 “Elvira Madigan”) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). There is also a performance of a new work by the popular British Composer, Nimrod Borenstein. 

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester: “Mr Ashkenazy is receiving this honour on account of his talent as a conductor, his successful career and his connection with the Philharmonia which has resulted in him developing a relationship with the University of Leicester.”

Vladimir Ashkenazy: "I've been to Leicester many times over the course of my career and have always enjoyed the contact with wonderful and very appreciative audiences. I'm delighted and truly honoured to receive this degree and I look forward to many more visits to Leicester in the future!"

David Whelton, Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra: “The Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy have a long, deep- rooted relationship – the kind of which is rare. Without question, he has the sort of musical mind that we will only witness a handful of times in our lifetimes. In Leicester, his name is unquestionably linked with the Philharmonia, so it is an occasion we will all cherish.”

For more information, pictures, biographies, and interviews, please contact Jim Follett:, 020 7921 3932




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