Sir Thomas Allen has been awarded this year’s Queen’s Medal for Music for the major influence he has had on the musical life of the nation. The Queen presented him with his medal at Buckingham Palace.
Thomas Allen – whose Gramilano Questionnaire you can read here – said,
I was surprised and thrilled to hear I would receive the Queen’s Medal for Music, having had so much recognition over many years. This very special award means so much to me and I’m very proud to have been selected.
Interestingly, Sir Thomas is said to be the inspiration behind the character of Billy Elliot. Playwright Lee Hall, who was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, just half an hour’s drive from Allen’s birthplace in the mining village of Seaham, set his drama in a fictional town in the same area. Like Billy, Thomas Allen went to London to train when he won a place at the Royal College of Music in 1964.
Allen was made a CBE in 1989, and was knighted in 1999.