THE distinguished conductor Andrew Parrott will receive the York Early Music Festival Lifetime Achievement Award on July 13 at the National Centre for Early Music.

Parrott, who was involved in the first ever York Early Music Week in 1977, will be presented with the honour by York Early Music Festival artistic advisor John Bryan in a 3pm ceremony immediately after the live broadcast of BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show from the NCEM.

He will be the fifth recipient of the biennial award, following flautist Barthold Kuijken, of the Kuijken brothers in 2006, soprano Dame Emma Kirkby in 2008, countertenor James Bowman in 2010 and Spanish viol player Jordi Savall two years ago.

Parrott is best known for his pioneering work with his Taverner Consort, Choir and Players, who have made more than 60 diverse recordings since their formation 41 years ago. He is a former music director and principal conductor of the London Mozart Players and New York Collegium too.

As well as performing repertoire from14th-century music to newly composed works with both modern and period-instrument orchestras, choirs and opera companies, he has always undertaken musicological research, publishing articles on Monteverdi, Purcell and Bach and the book The Essential Bach Choir in 2000. He is now working on two more books.

Parrott's exploration of the classical repertoire has included productions of operas by Haydn, Gluck and Mozart – six of them for Toronto's Opera Atelier – along with recordings of Mozart's Mass in C minor and Requiem and all Beethoven’s works for piano and orchestra with Ronald Brautigam.

New music has played an important part in his musical life too; once an assistant to Sir Michael Tippett, he has premiered several works by younger British composers, such as Judith Weir's A Night At The Chinese Opera, and orchestral and choral music by Slovakia's leading composer, Vladimír Godár.

His latest recordings, both with Taverner forces, are of his première reconstruction of J S Bach's lost Trauer-Music for Prince Leopold and of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, released in 2013.

Delma Tomlin, director of the NCEM, says: “The Lifetime Achievement Award allows us to take time during York Early Music Festival to celebrate the significant achievements of truly outstanding artists.

"Andrew’s involvement with the festival starts at the very beginning, in 1977, when his performance with his Tavernor Consort of the 14th-century Machaut Mass in York Minster was a complete revelation. So it is with great pleasure that we mark the extraordinary contribution he has made to music throughout his career with this award.”

Responding to the announcement of his award, Andrew says: "The Early Music movement has been described by one writer as having brought about nothing less than 'a sea change in our listening habits'. While my personal list of related objectives still to be achieved remains implausibly long, acknowledgement of past contributions I may have made is undeniably rewarding. I am most grateful to the York Early Music Festival for expressing its recognition in this way.”

John Bryan looks forward to presenting the award. "Andrew Parrott is an inspirational conductor of all sorts of Early Music, from the medieval Machaut Mass to Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Bach's sacred music, and he always sheds new light on pieces we think we know, through a detailed investigation of original source materials and working closely with a hand-picked team of singers and players in his re-creative projects.”

The 2014 York Early Music Festival will run from July 10 to 19, exploring intermingled themes in Early Music from southern and northern Europe in Age of Gold, Age of Enlightenment.. Artists will include Jordi Savall’s Hespèrion XXI; The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers; The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Ensemble Gilles Binchois and Les Sacqueboutiers; Andrew Carwood’s The Cardinall’s Musick; Forma Antiqua's Zapico brothers, from Spain, and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists.

Full programme details can be found at Tickets cost £5 to £30 on 01904 658338, via email to and online at