Professor John Wallace CBE awarded The Queen’s Medal for Music

Tuesday 23 November 2021

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music for 2021 to Professor John Wallace CBE, patron of the Scottish Brass Band Association.

An internationally renowned Scottish trumpet soloist, composer and educator, John Wallace is the 17th recipient of the award, following the celebrated organist Thomas Trotter in 2020.

John started playing the trumpet when he was seven years old, and at 16, toured Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. His professional career spans over five decades, playing with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra.

He has dedicated much of his career to the promotion of arts education, serving as Head of the Brass Faculty at the Royal Academy of Music in London, before becoming Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama).

He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, the Leeds Conservatoire, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.   

As well as his career as soloist, John is the founder of the Wallace Collection, a brass ensemble currently based in St Andrews. The Wallace Collection has toured all over the world and is now based in Scotland as a partner of the St Andrews Music Participation (StAMP) Project, which has given 150 youngsters across Fife the opportunity to start learning a brass instrument since the start of the pandemic.

He also convenes the Music Education Partnership Group, which worked to secure free instrumental tuition in Scottish state schools.

The Queen’s Medal for Music was established in 2005 at the suggestion of former Master of The Queen's Music, the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The medal is awarded annually to an outstanding individual or group of musicians who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.

The nominating process for the award is overseen by a committee chaired by the Master of The Queen's Music, Judith Weir. The committee meet annually to discuss their nominees before submitting their recommendation to The Queen for approval. 

Commenting on the award, Judith Weir said: “Following his stellar career as a trumpet player, John Wallace transformed arts education during his stewardship of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His creativity and energy remain an inspiration and example to everyone in the musical world.”

On hearing of the award, John remarked: “I am honoured and humbled to accept this award.  I work with many teams of inspiring musicians across every genre of music and aspect of music education in Scotland. I just light the touchpaper and stand back. This award is recognition of the indomitable spirit of those musicians.”

Ian Mills, chairman of the MEPG board, added: “John, with his accustomed modesty, is keen to acknowledge the contribution made by the wide group of people he engages with.

“However, there is no doubt this is a well-deserved honour in recognition of his outstanding work in the field of music and music education and I am sure MEPG colleagues will join with me in offering our congratulations.”

SBBA and brass musicians in Scotland also pass on their hearty congratulations to John on achieving this well-deserved award!


Got a story?

Email Nigel Martin: