News Release: Director of sound is first Scottish-based winner of prestigious Leslie Boosey Award

•    Fiona Robertson has won the biennial Leslie Boosey award
•    Award announcement comes as Creative Scotland confirms £150,000 of support for sound in 2019-20
•    soundfestival 2019 will have a major focus on the oboe with James Turnbull and Christopher Redgate as artists in residence, and appearances by other leading oboists including Nicholas Daniel

Fiona Robertson, Director of the acclaimed Aberdeen-Aberdeenshire based new music organisation, sound, is to be awarded the prestigious Leslie Boosey Award by the Royal Philharmonic Society it was announced today, 28 February 2019. The news was released as it was also confirmed that Creative Scotland would continue its support for sound. The arts body has awarded the maximum grant of £150,000 from its Open Project Fund to enable sound to stage its 2019 soundfestival (23 Oct – 3 November) and to run a year-round programme of new music events and community projects.

Presented every two years in recognition of those who work tirelessly ‘backstage’ to champion new music, the Leslie Boosey Award is not for composers or performers, but for programmers, publishers, broadcasters, administrators, educationalists and figures from the recording industry. The Award – a resplendent bronze eagle commissioned from renowned sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink – will be presented to Fiona shortly.

‘Comprising leading figures from the music profession, our panel was unanimously impressed by the quality and scope of all Fiona has accomplished,” says James Murphy, Chief Executive of the Royal Philharmonic Society. “She has made new music resound in an area where it may otherwise scarcely be heard.”

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Leslie Boosey award, and proud to join a list of such illustrious previous recipients,” says Fiona Robertson. “It’s a great recognition for the work that many other people as well as myself have put in to developing sound and creating new music opportunities in Scotland, in particular in the North East.”

“On behalf of sound I would also like to thank Creative Scotland for supporting our ongoing commitment to developing, promoting and presenting new music in Scotland. It means that we can continue the vital work of offering composers and performers a platform for their work, and nurturing new music at grass roots level.”

“This year’s festival will see us putting the oboe front and centre, and we are delighted to welcome some of the world’s leading oboists including James Turnbull, Christopher Redgate, and Nicolas Daniel. One of the highlights of the programme will be a performance of soundfestival patron, Sir James MacMillan’s, Intercession for Three Oboes to mark his 60th birthday.”

Alan Morrison, head of Music at Creative Scotland commented: “I’m delighted that Fiona Robertson has won the biennial Leslie Boosey Award. Creative Scotland is well aware of the passion and belief that she brings to her work,  and it is heartening to see such wonderful and well-deserved recognition at a national level for Fiona herself, for the sound festival in particular and for new music in Scotland in general.

“While the spotlight naturally falls on those on the podium and concert stage, it’s often the people behind the scenes, like Fiona, who keep the lifeblood of new music flowing. The impact of sound goes far beyond those weeks in October when the festival spreads across the north-east; it is now felt year-round as performers, composers and new audiences are given access to this vibrant and ever-inventive field of music at grass-roots level.”

sound supports composers, organises outreach and community work and runs the soundfestival, Scotland’s festival of new music. Fiona was one of the founders of sound in 2004, along with Professor Pete Stollery of the University of Aberdeen and Mark Hope of Woodend Barn. Since then she has worked tirelessly transforming its scope, commissioning over 120 new works from a range of composers and supporting many others. She has produced hundreds of events, brought many distinguished composers to Aberdeenshire, and nurtured a vibrant audience and community for new music in Scotland beyond the strongholds of Glasgow and Edinburgh. She was also instrumental in setting up New Music Scotland, bringing together promoters, composers and performers in Scotland.

The Leslie Boosey Award is given in memory of Leslie Boosey (1887 – 1979), the music publisher who merged his family firm to establish Boosey & Hawkes, one of the world’s leading publishing companies. He was responsible for cultivating and promoting a range of eminent composers as well as striving to achieve better rights and royalties in perpetuity for composers internationally.


Further press information from:

Lesley Booth, 07799414474 /

Royal Philharmonic Society
Robin Sheffield, General Manager, Royal Philharmonic Society,

Image credit: Graeme MacDonald