Choreographer Matthew Bourne gets a call from the Queen

A number of notable figures from performing arts have been acknowledged in the New Year’s Honours list released by UK government. Among these is choreographer Matthew Bourne, who has received a Knighthood for his services to dance. Bourne’s best known works include and all-male version of Swan Lake, an adaptation of Edward Scissorhands and a recent production of Sleeping Beauty.

Speaking to BBC News Bourne said he was ‘flabbergasted’ when he found out, adding that, ‘I had to re-read it a couple of times, and burst into laughter.’ Bourne has forged his own path in dance, with his success coming through his own company New Adventures rather than by working with established companies. He is also founder of charity Re:Bourne, which supports the careers of young dancers.

The two founders of Music Theatre Wales have been given MBEs, recognising more than thirty years of new music creation. Michael McCarthy and Michael Rafferty began as Cardiff New Opera Group back in 1982, and have since gone on to commission work by Lynne Plowman, Michael Berkeley, Nigel Osbourne, Philip Glass and Stuart MacRae.

‘It means a great deal to me to be unexpectedly honoured with this award,’ said Rafferty. ‘More and more people are discovering the excitement and richness of work that comes from the imaginations of so many fantastic, living composers and this award celebrates a huge collective achievement.’

Elsewhere conductor Steuart Bedford has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to music. Bedford is a world-leading expert on Benjamin Britten, recording a number of his compositions including a 2013 release of Peter Grimes on Signum Classics. He has worked with groups like Philharmonia, Royal Scottish National, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre national de Montpellier and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

There has also been an honour for David Joseph, chair and CEO of Universal Music UK and Ireland. Joseph – who is a leading figure at Arts Council England and was executive producer of documentary film Amy – has received a CBE.

Others recognised include pianist Radu Lupu (CBE), violinist Alina Ibragimova (MBE) and pianist Malcolm Martineau (OBE). The next honours will be announced in June to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday.