Gary Crosby OBE has been announced as the recipient of The Queen’s Medal for Music 2018, making him the first-ever jazz musician to receive this prestigious award.
Previously awarded to classical composers and musicians, this is also the first time the honour has been given to an individual of colour.
He accepted the award in person today at a special Audience with HM The Queen on Wednesday 10 July.
The award is in recognition not just of his prodigious musical talents as a double-bassist, band leader, music arranger, educator, and multi-award-winning personality, but for the inimitable impact he has had on the fabric of jazz creation in the UK and his generous devotion to supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and giving back to the community.
Chair of the award committee and Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir said: “Looking around the UK’s currently thriving jazz scene, the name of Gary Crosby is constantly cited as the person who has encouraged a whole generation to look again at jazz and become involved. Gary has achieved this over many hard-working years, as part of his own practice as a bass player and teacher. His career is an inspiration to musicians and educators in every area of music, and I am delighted to see him awarded The Queen’s Medal for Music in recognition of this.”
On receiving the award, Gary Crosby said: “I’m delighted and honoured to receive The Queen’s Medal for Music, and humbled to join such a distinguished group of Medal recipients. It’s wonderful to receive professional recognition, though I believe, more than anything, it recognises the transformative impact Tomorrow’s Warriors has had on the many young jazz musicians we’ve worked with over the years, and the contribution to making our industry and audiences more diverse and inclusive. It’s particularly special to receive this Medal in the year we celebrate the 10thanniversary of the Tomorrow’s Warriors residency at Southbank Centre, launched in 2009 in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with our Nu Civilisation Orchestra performing ‘The Queen’s Suite’, written specially for Her Majesty by jazz music’s leading ‘royal’, the great Duke Ellington.”
The Queen’s Medal for Music is presented annually to an outstanding individual or group of musicians. The award was first presented in 2005, of which the recipient was conductor and composer the late Sir Charles Mackerras. Other recipients include Sir Thomas Allen, Nicola Benedetti MBE and Thea Musgrave CBE. Gary Crosby is the fourteenth recipient of the award.
Gary Crosby’s awards include an OBE for Services to Music, BBC Radio Jazz Award for Services to Jazz, a Parliamentary Jazz Award for Music Education, Special Parliamentary Jazz Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jazz and a BASCA Gold Badge Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry. He also has an honorary fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance and is a member of the Jamaica Jazz Hall of Fame for consistent contribution to Jamaican Music.