Queen Elizabeth II presents music medal – Kathryn Tickell to receive The Queens Medal for Music

Kathryn Tickell to receive The Queens Medal for Music

The Queen’s Medal for Music is an annual award, instituted in 2005, for contribution to the musical life of Great Britain. The expenses of the award come from the Privy Purse.

The Medal may be awarded to people of any nationality.

Kathryn Tickell was born in Walsall, in the West Midlands, to parents who originated from Northumberland and who moved back there with the family when Kathryn was seven. Her paternal grandfather played accordion, fiddle, and organ. Her father, Mike Tickell, sang and her mother played the concertina. Her first instrument was piano when she was six. A year later, she picked up a set of Northumbrian smallpipes brought home by her father, who intended them for someone else. Frustrated by fiddle and piano, she learned that the pipes rewarded her effort.

Performing and recording

At thirteen, she had gained a reputation from performing in festivals and winning pipe contests. When she was seventeen, she released her first album, On Kielder Side (Saydisc, 1984), which she recorded at her parents’ house. During the same year, she was named Official Piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, an office that had been vacant for 150 years.She formed the Kathryn Tickell Band, with Karen Tweed on accordion, bass, and guitar, and released the band’s first album in 1991 on Black Crow Records. Later, the band comprised Peter Tickell on fiddle, Julian Sutton on melodeon, and Joss Clapp on guitar. In 2001, the Kathryn Tickell Band was the first band to play traditional folk music at the Promenade Concerts in London.

She formed Kathyrn Tickell and the Side, with Ruth Wall on Celtic harp, Louisa Tuck on cello, and Amy Thatcher on accordion. The group plays a combination of folk and classical music.

She recorded with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra when it was led by Simon Jeffes. She met Jeffes while she was in her teens, and he wrote the song “Organum” for her. After Jeffes’s death, she played with the Orchestra again over a decade later when it was run by his son, Arthur.

Tickell has also recorded with The ChieftainsThe Boys of the LoughJimmy NailLinda ThompsonAlan Parsons, and Andy Sheppard. She has performed live with Sting, who is also from Newcastle upon Tyne, and has recorded with him on his albums The Soul Cages (1991), Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993), Mercury Falling (1996), Brand New Day, (1999), If on a Winter’s Night (2009), and The Last Ship (2013).

Two ex-members of the North East England traditional music group the High Level Ranters have appeared on her albums: Tom Gilfellon on On Kielder Side and Alistair Anderson on Borderlands (1986). The latter album included to a tribute to the Wark football team. Several other pipers have appeared on her albums: Troy Donockley on Debatable Lands, Patrick Molard on The Gathering and Martyn Bennett on BorderlandsDebatable Lands included “Our Kate”, a composition by Kathryn Tickell dedicated to Catherine Cookson.

In 1987, the early part of her career was chronicled in The Long Tradition, a TV documentary. Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbria, another documentary, appeared in 2006. In 1997, Tickell founded the Young Musicians Fund of the Tyne and Wear Foundation to provide money to young people in northeastern England who wanted to learn music. She founded the Festival of the North East and from 2009–2013 was the artistic director of Folkworks.

Other projects

In 1987, the early part of her career was chronicled in The Long Tradition, a TV documentary. Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbria, another documentary, appeared in 2006. In 1997, Tickell founded the Young Musicians Fund of the Tyne and Wear Foundation to provide money to young people in northeastern England who wanted to learn music. She founded the Festival of the North East and from 2009–2013 was the artistic director of Folkworks.

From Kathryns newsletter

Thank you for all the congratulations sent to Kathryn following the announcement of her being awarded The QueenÕs Medal for Music (also see KathrynÕs message at http://kathryntickell.blogspot.com ). The official announcement was made at The Sage Gateshead where a celebratory gathering of friends, family, producers, artists and press were treated to music from the highly accomplished Folkestra as well as Kathryn herself. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies gave his personal reflection upon her progressive approach and the inspiration she has brought to so many, from established artists to those just starting out, and, of course, to her audiences. Kathryn said ÒIÕm absolutely delighted to receive this award. Although thinking back to my school days, where my interest in traditional folk music was most definitely not encouraged, I have to admit that it feels rather surrealÉ how times change! I hope that this award will be seen as a very positive statement for traditional and folk music in general, not just for myself.Ó

Performances and thanks With warmer thoughts of the summer months (http://www.kathryntickell.com) has been updated with performances in May, June and July.

Close