Nicky Morgan said she had 'no plans' to challenge the reforms that will see the benefit given only to over 75s with low-incomes.
Chief executive promises to take the award back to the region’s people - ‘who need it in these difficult times’. Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra has been named orchestra of the year at the 2019 Gramophone Awards. The category is the only one of the classical music magazine’s awards open to public vote; the orchestra and its Music Director Jaap Van Zweden triumphed in a shortlist of ten international orchestras, largely because of their ambitious and critically acclaimed recording of Wagner’s Ring cycle. Chair of the board of governors YS Liu thanked the Hong Kong government for their unfailing support since 1974 [the year the orchestra became fully professional]. “Please visit us. It is not as bad as you see on TV,” he said. HK Phil Chief executive Benedikt Fohr promised to “bring the award back to our people. They deserve it. They need it, especially in these difficult times.” The group is the first Asian orchestra to win the award, a fact noted by its Dutch-born conductor Van Zweden, who has been its Music Director since 2012. “Music can empower the individual and society. We can inspire people with our music in all corners of the world,” he said, in a pre-recorded video message of thanks. The Recording of the Year went to French pianist Bertrand Chamayou for his disc of Saint-Saëns piano concertos. Another pianist, Vikingur Ólafsson, was honoured with the Artist of the Year title. The fast-rising Icelandic musician, whose recording of Bach transcriptions won him the top prize at BBC Music magazine’s awards earlier in the year, was praised for having the gift of “making something familiar feel entirely his own, drawing you into a world where no other interpretation seems possible.” Other awards went to Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe for his “bracingly original” softLOUD: music for acoustic and electric guitars - the first time music for electric guitar has featured at the Gramophone Awards. Dame Emma Kirkby won the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Polish countertenor Jakub Jozef Orlinski was the recipient of the Young Artist of the Year Award. Editor-in-chief James Jolly hailed a ‘vintage year’ in the classical recording industry. “The way we listen to music may be changing dramatically, but one thing remains constant – the high-quality of the music-making,” he said.
Six children will cycle 400 miles in aid of BBC Children In Need thanks to mechanics at McLaren.