Sir Charles Groves Prize

The Sir Charles Groves Prize, established in 1990, recognises the outstanding contribution that an individual or organisation has made to the musical life of the UK. The prize honours the remarkable contribution of Sir Charles to both amateur music, as a former president of Making Music, and to British musicianship and composition. It was launched to mark the renowned conductor's 75th birthday.

Latest winner: Charles Hazlewood

The award-winning British conductor Charles Hazlewood has been presented with the Sir Charles Groves Prize for his outstanding contribution to the musical life of the UK, particularly his work with the Paraorchestra, which he founded.

The Paraorchestra is a Bristol-based large-scale professional ensemble of virtuoso disabled and non-disabled musicians playing a mix of acoustic, analogue, digital, and assistive instruments - the first of its kind in the world. The orchestra create large-scale and dynamic music experiences, blending artforms and technology to create innovative new ways of experiencing orchestral music - not only radically changing who connects with orchestral music, but shifting the perception of disability by removing the outdated barriers that too often prevent a showcase of excellence in disabled players. 

Charles has also worked with many of the world's greatest orchestras, including Royal Concertgebouw, The Philharmonia, Swedish Radio Symphony and Danish Radio Symphony; he's conducted over 200 world premieres and played Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms and multiple festivals throughout the world; he's worked in TV, radio and opera and collaborated with numerous diverse artists. 

‘I am beyond honoured (and feel thoroughly unworthy) to accept the Sir Charles Groves award. I have had an utterly joyous life making music with a smorgasbord of brilliant people for over 30 years; it is its own reward, but to be recognised by Making Music is very special indeed.’ - Charles Hazlewood

On 23 June, Chief Executive of Making Music Barbara Eifler presented the award at the Paraorchestra's SMOOSH! preview event at the Factory Project in East London. Charles' work with the Paraorchestra chimes with Making Music’s vision that everyone should have the opportunity to be part of a music group. His outstanding artistic work with musicians of different physical abilities is an inspiration and showcase for others who may currently feel that making music is not for them, so the Making Music Board wanted to shine a light on this conductor as a model of an inclusive leader. 

 ‘We are delighted to be able to recognise an immensely talented artist who has done so much to broaden the perception of who can be a musician; barriers to creativity are not inside people, but in the world in which they find themselves. Here is someone who does not accept these barriers and shows us all how – and why – we should help remove them.’ - Barbara Eifler, CEO of Making Music

Read more on our blog.

Past winners

2020: Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE and Professor Martin Ashley
2018: Take It Away
2016: Sir Karl Jenkins
2014: Nicola Benedetti
2013: Darren Henley
2012: Gareth Malone
2011: Sing Up
2010: Sir Colin Davis
2009: Larry Westland CBE
2008: Susannah Simons and Roger Wright
2007: Howard Goodall
2006: Glastonbury Festival for Contemporary Performing Arts
2005: Gavin Henderson
2004: Clive Gillinson
2003: Christopher Bell
2002: The Lindsays
2001: Philip Langridge
2000: Edinburgh International Music Festival