Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, baritone Gerald Finley, conductor Sir Mark Elder and composer George Benjamin have received high honors from the Queen of England.
Connolly, now officially a Dame, was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) back in 2010.
“I felt deeply honored and amazed that anyone would write in on my behalf and nominate me. At first, I thought I’d got into trouble, because I’m quite politically active and I thought ‘I’ve overstepped the mark, the Cabinet Office are cross with me,” she noted according to Classic FM. “I would like to use my damehood to highlight things like the lack of artistic education in secondary schools. If I can get people to listen to me, and politicians who are afraid of approaching arts subjects to work with me, that would be great. I would love to see more politicians at the opera houses and concert halls.”
Finley received his CBE and noted that it was a huge honor.
“My hope is that the true art of singing, with beauty of voice and artful accomplishment, will continue to impact live audiences and will encourage audiences to share in the direct live encounter, to help soothe, uplift and guide us through unpredictable and difficult times in our personal and social environments.”
Benjamin receives knighthood while Elder was made Companion of Honour.
Among those also receiving royal honors this year are Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling and Sir Paul McCartney, among many others.