Conductor surprised at prestigious award
AN ‘ADMIRED’ conductor who devotes his time to music in the community has won the Michael Craxton Award.
Peter Williams, founder and conductor of the Hillingdon Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hillingdon Choral Society, received the honour from mayor George Cooper at a Hillingdon Arts Association (HAA) concert.
The award is the highest accolade HAA can give and is in tribute to Michael Craxton, its former president and mayor of the borough of Hillingdon in 1995.
Mr Williams said he was ‘really surprised and felt privileged’ to receive the prestigious award.
He added: “Few people get it and it marks the appreciation of the things I’ve done in Hillingdon.
“I was delighted that Jane Craxton, Michael Craxton’s daughter, was present.”
Mr Williams began his career in music as head of music of Barnhill High School in 1973 and has no plans to slow down.
He said: “I’ll continue to make music and I’ve got some good things coming up – a family concert in February and a choral concert in March.
“We have 100 people going to Holland in May on a concert tour.”
HAA trustee Lydia Holland said it was hard to think of anyone who has ‘given more to music in Hillingdon’ than Mr Williams.
She added: “It speaks volumes for the high regard in which Peter is held, that at the Triple Anniversary concert, presented at Cadogan Hall, in London, in honour of his 60th birthday in July 2011, there were people present from every school where he has worked and every club and society with which he has been associated through all this time.
“Peter is admired by everyone who knows him and we are so very lucky to have him here in Hillingdon.”
Mr Williams’ extensive roles over the year include musical director for operatic and musical show performances, national musical director of the Free Church Choir, an examiner for the London College of Music and a piano teacher.
In 2002, the Hillingdon Philharmonic Orchestra had the honour of playing for The Queen’s walkabout after lunch at Gunnersbury Park during her Golden Jubilee year.
The Queen was heard to say ‘what lovely music’ as she passed the stage.
n ‘DELIGHTED’: Peter Williams with Jenny Thorne, the HAA awards secretary